I admit I never put much thought into choosing hospital for treatment. At my first diagnosis, I went to the new local hospital because that is where my parent's friend worked and helped get an appointment fairly quickly. I mean I had a pediatrician and then went to college and got cancer and needed a new doctor anyway. Then I started going there for all my doctor appointments so when 26 years later the next cancer diagnosis showed up, I continued to go there. I mean why not? It was local, had added a big oncology center with its latest expansion, the food is pretty good in the cafeteria, and they were nice to me. And the best part is they only have single rooms. You never have to share a room. Your insurance can't make you share a room. If you wonder what is so great about that go watch "The Bucket List" again. That was the best design idea any hospital architect ever had - single rooms with private bathrooms and showers.
I could have rushed to downtown Boston for a more specialized hospital such as Dana Farber or Mass General but that would mean driving in Boston which can be a contact sport at the best of times. And it would take three times as long to go about the same distance. 6.5 miles door to door from the local hospital in less than 15 minutes or 9.8 miles into Boston in at least 30-45 minutes. Add in rush hour and it could be an hour. I have a friend who decided to go to Dana Farber for chemo. She would have to leave her house around 7am for a 9am chemo appointment to allow for traffic- never mind trying not to lose your lunch as you sit in stop and go traffic.
Now there are other options around such as the Cancer Treatment Centers of America. I don't really know much about them but I do know people who have gone there from other parts of the country because it was a good option for them as they did not have quality cancer care locally. I am lucky as I live so close to so many hospitals which means there are lots of good doctors and nurses who provide a high level of care - competition improves lots of things - but many people don't have the luxury and have to travel long distances for their care.
Someone from CTCA commented on my blog yesterday so I looked at their website a bit. I never really have looked at them because I never had the need. The closest one is Philadelphia - a good 300 miles away. Anyway, they do seem to offer a high level of care and brag about their statistics on their home page. If I didn't live so close to so many other hospitals would I consider them? Probably.
If I had another cancer adventure would I consider traveling for treatment and making that big trip down town? Possibly. It would really depend on the diagnosis. Its going to take a lot to pry me away from my local care. And I would have to have a single room for any inpatient care.