Dr. Marty Makary, a Johns Hopkins School of Medicine cancer surgeon and researcher, was interviewed online about his new book titled, “Unaccountable: What Hospitals Won’t Tell You and How Transparency Can Revolutionize Health Care”. The title tells it like it is. Here are some key quotes from his interview:
• Hospitals across the nation have “alarmingly high error rates”.
• “1 in 4 hospital patients are harmed by a mistake”
• “Medical mistakes are the fifth-most common cause of death in the United States”
• “We have hospitals that fire doctors and nurses when they speak up.”
The fix? “We need to change the culture of medicine”, he says. He candidly admits that he himself makes mistakes, but unlike most doctors, he says he confronts them and admits them promptly. “When I make a medical mistake and quickly disclose it to patients, they appreciate it.”
All this is pretty refreshing to hear from a medical doctor. In our Central New York medical malpractice cases, all we ever hear doctors, and their lawyers, do is deny, deny and then deny some more. Never an apology. Never an admission. When they are done denying, they sometimes even blame the patient for having failed to ask the right questions, to follow up, or to get second opinions.
Will doctors like Dr. Makary ever succeed in bringing a “cultural revolution” to the health care industry? I don’t want to say this can’t be done, but it does remind me of that Greek myth of Sisyphus, you know, the guy rolling the boulder up the hill, only to see it roll down again, over and over and over again. An almost hopeless and futile task. Pushing the boulder all the way up that hill will take Herculean efforts. The billion-dollar health care system is just so entrenched, with so many well-established self-interests. The wagons will be circling.
Good luck Dr. Makary!
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Michael G. Bersani, Esq.
michaels-smolak.com Syracuse NY Medical Malpractice Lawyers Michaels & Smolak, P.C.