We have now reached China on our cardiovascular tour through Asia. ACC President Doug Weaver
and I, along with our ACC delegation, are attending the Great Wall
International Congress of Cardiology. This is our 3rd year in this
joint sponsorship of a major meeting -- this year with over 2500 cardiologists
from China and Asia attending. It has been a great and eye-opening trip.
The science exchange is very valuable for BOTH sides. Dr. Weaver and I had an
incredible visit to Fu Wai hospital, China’s largest CV center. Just in
the one year since former President Jim Dove and I were there, the changes
are impressive. Fu Wai is a D2B partner and they feel they are well within the
90 minute reperfusion goal -- and they’d be interested in using the NCDR to be
consistent with ACC in data exchanges. Their outcomes in PCI, CABG, CHD, and
transplants closely parallel ours, but CV disease is rapidly growing in China, partly
because of worsening Western habits of diet and exercise, but also because so
many people (mostly men) still smoke here. The Great Wall Conference is
probably the biggest anti-smoking venue that occurs in this country -- given the
government conflict with significant ownership of tobacco income -- and this is
a really bold aspect for the Chinese contingent of our joint meeting.
For anybody who hasn’t been to
Beijing recently, it is almost shocking to see the near absence of bicycles and
scooters, replaced by modern, up-scale and luxury vehicles and super-modern
transit and infrastructure. I don’t think there is a U.S. city as modern, clean and
affluent in general as this place. There is no ‘bad section.’ Most Americans
don’t know this. The rural areas may be far behind -- but watch how fast they
start to catch up too. The energy, passion to achieve, and work ethic is what
our country was like until recently. By comparison, we seem to have developed a
society that feels ‘entitled’ in many ways in the U.S. (in my opinion), versus the
‘fire in the belly’ passion and personal responsibility ethic to succeed that
one can’t help feeling here. But, people are very, very nice. They seem to like
us and the U.S.
Personally, I have complete faith in
our country to continue to lead and succeed in the changing world, but success
in the future will not be handed to us on a platter of entitlement. I’m not
talking about lower income people here, I’m talking about us ALL! We need to
keep our antennae up to deal with the competition we face in the future. I
think we’re up to it -- but not in the way old Europe and America feel
entitled to more time off, more benefits, higher pay without higher performance,
etc. If America
doesn’t start replacing our aging infrastructure, for example -- and be willing
to pay for it -- we will become obsolete over the next decade in this new world.
But, we won’t let that happen. Right?