Bernie Sanders discharged from hospital after heart surgery

Look, if you want to call it a minor surgery, or non-invasive surgery, that’s totally defensible. But repeatedly denying that it’s a surgery at all is downright silly. The facts (and dictionary definition) are just not on your side.

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The only reason it gets called surgery, by journalists or by layperson dictionaries, is because there isn’t broad understanding of what catheter-based procedures entail. It is a different category of procedure.

It’s like if there wasn’t manned flight before there were space missions, and you were trying to describe a airplane flight.

“It uses thrust and lift to carry the pilot and passengers off the ground, but it doesn’t go into space”

“So it’s a rocket ship, going to space.”

“No, it’s something different. It’s not a rocket, and it doesn’t go to space. It’s safer, too.”

“So it’s a car?”

“No, it leaves the ground.”

“Then it’s a space ship.”

“No, it’s a plane, it flies through the…fuck it, yes, it’s a space ship.”

ETA: There are major holes in both of the definitions you’ve cited. They are fine for general use, but they have major problems in the details. For instance. The environment and tools used for surgery and catheterization are very different in the details.

For one, a surgical suite (or OR) is a completely sterile environment that gets, essentially, fully bleached from floor to ceiling between procedures. A cath lab (where angioplasties are performed) has a lower requirement for sterility, because there are no open incisions during the procedure.

In the OR, no one is allowed into the room who hasn’t fully “scrubbed in” and gowned head-to-toe in sterile clothing. In the cath lab, the folks who are directly handling the tools are scrubbed in, but other people in the room are not.

The tools for the different procedures are completely different. In surgery, most of the tools are simple metal implements for cutting and holding tissue, which get sterilized in an autoclave between procedures and re-used hundreds of times. In a catheterization, there are single-use kits to access veins and arteries that involve needles and access tubes (which basically look like small-diameter drinking straws), and long plastic tubes that go through the veins or arteries to the area of intervention. What you won’t see are a lot of scalpels and saws. It’s all tubes and needles, almost all of which are designed for single use and disposal.

Most surgery is done through direct visualization or using cameras (endoscopy). Interventional procedures use fluoroscopy, a kind of real-time video x-ray, to visualize the catheters and tissue at the site of intervention.

The only surgery was into an artery to insert the catheter

You won’t mind if yours is done by a nurse, then. Or do you insist on a GP that did it twice in med school in the 90s?

If you’d rather have a surgeon do it, somebody who did it yesterday, you might grant that from their point of view, it’s surgery. If it needs special expertise to do, if its something that GPs would not touch outside of an emergency, that makes it surgery. They don’t get the big bucks for doing routine things any medico could do.

I certainly wouldn’t want a surgeon to do it. It’s not their area of expertise. There is a particular type of specialist who performs cardiac catheterizations: interventional cardiologists. They have as high a bar in training as cardiac surgeons, but it’s fundamentally different.

In order to be allowed to do angioplasty, stenting, and transcatheter heart valve implantation, one needs to be Board certified in interventional cardiology, which entails an extra year of formal training after completing board certification in Cardiology. Note: a cardiac surgeon would not have the credentials to do this procedure unless they also completed that extra year of formal training and passed the examination.

The nicknames of these specialists are plumbers (interventional cardiologists) and mechanics (surgeons). Are you going to have your car mechanic install your hot water heater? Or maybe you would have your plumber install a new transmission?


To me it looks more like someone claiming that a plane doesn’t fly because it doesn’t have feathers.
Whatever technical term people settle on, the man’s life had to be saved by doctors shoving plastic apparatus into his heart. All this desperate clapping to save Tinkerbell will not make Bernie immortal. The man’s ideas might be if people try to enact them, but best case he’s not going to be around to save us forever.
And yes, I think Biden is too damn old too.


But it does matter. This is like saying someone should not be considered for President because they just had a root canal.


I wasn’t asked if I had a living will and what kind of chaplain I would prefer before any of my root canals. You’re being disingenuous about the seriousness of this incident. Current treatments are less invasive than they used to be, which is great. Elderly men are more likely to survive heart attacks. That doesn’t put a heart attack on the level of a root canal.

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I want to vote for someone whose heart I don’t have to worry about.

That field is wide open. No heart, no worries.


It’s not disingenuous when the statistics back it up. Just because it’s counter-intuitive doesn’t make the assertion wrong.

Risk of complications in coronary angioplasty and stenting for non-elective procedure: <3%

Risk of complications in root canal (also non-elective, to compare apples to apples): 5%

Exactly what @DukeTrout said. In the beginning, a rivalry existed between the cardiologists and the cardiac surgeons as to who should do the procedures. Sounds like it’s worked itself out.

Of course, it’s always good to have a cardiac surgeon (and operating room) hanging around just in case invasive surgery is needed if things go badly.

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Bernie is actually the youngest and healthiest candidate

But the thing is, for those interested in using correct medical terminology, it isn’t heart surgery, because the heart is not being surgically operated on. No cuts are being made with scalpels. The chest isn’t being forced apart. There’s no cardioplegia to cool the heart down so it stops beating to be worked on. There’s no bypass pump to take over pumping blood through the patient’s body. No pieces of leg vein or mammary artery are excised to replace lengths of blocked coronary arteries. And so on. So the difference between getting a stent and undergoing heart surgery is tremendous; it’s a smaller insult to the body. The outcome is better and the recovery time is much reduced.

I agree with you to an extent in that it’s still serious, and that Bernie (IMO) is too old to be president (I prefer Warren, frankly). But the expectations of using one word versus another has large ramifications, especially in an election. I think it’s an error in reporting to refer to something that it’s not. I expect a little more from BB.

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Good for him; godspeed on his recovery.


Go ahead. Vote for somebody else.

Like, vote for Elizabeth Warren, the “I’m a conservative Republican” (in the 1990s)

Her of the “I’m kinda for M4A but only with lots of weasel words like ‘access’, etc”

And spare me the "I was going to vote for Bernie but won’t now because of [this post|his age|“BernieBros”|The “liberal” media telling me he is a curmudgeon|etc].

Just more lies and spin from the DNC trolls, who are paid handsomely to move the Overton Window ever rightward and to make sure the millionaires now running the Democratic Party don’t pay another dime in taxes to actually make life better for the peons.

“We love your vote! Who else you gonna vote for? HAHAHAHAHAHA! Bernie? Give it up, you commies! Just because he’s the only trustworthy candidate, and he will work hard for the things you want? Forget it! He will make us, the 1%/.1%/.01% POOR, so forget him and vote for somebody we approve of.” - The DNC leadership

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I was for Bernie before it was cool


He carried you for nine months and this is how you thank him.


I think you’re replying to people (by and large) who will vote for Bernie (with more than sufficient enthusiasm) if he’s the candidate, and will vote for Warren if she’s the candidate.

Are you planning on only supporting a candidate against Trump if it’s Bernie, or bust?


of course, that’s your choice. I’d rather have the best president possible, even for one term, than second best for two terms.
it’s funny how much more coverage he is having on this, somewhat negative news as opposed to the good policy proposals he’s putting out there

None of us know the extent of any ongoing health concerns here yet.

But if we’re playing what ifs - I’d rather have two terms of any of the Democratic Candidates than one who dies a month before the election.

So let’s just give the man a week or two to heal up & share what his full medical records show.

Also - clearly lots of people don’t think he’s the best candidate by poll results- he needs to convince more people.


Not that I needed your permission, but cool, thanks.

I will vote for Bernie if he’s the candidate, especially if Warren’s his running mate. Then, when he dies in office, we’ll get another president that isn’t an ancient white man. Oh no, she’s not enough of a lefty! We’ll all be doomed! Seriously, this whole conversation is ridiculous.