Hall of Fame
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So here I was worrying about all the details & possible snags on my career moves all weekend, thinking about a job I plan to quit, how they’ll respond, possible troubles, details, etc. et al, ad nauseum. Who cares, really? It’s just details, it’ll all work out. Who cares? As of this evening, I sure don’t.
It’s Monday, Patriot’s Day in Massachusetts. Every year we celebrate the beginning of armed insurrection (“the shot heard round the world“) against the government (“Redcoats” being government troops) when they tried to seize local militias’ ammunition in Concord, MA. We re-enact local militias fighting and dying against government troops who most folks call “The British,” forgetting we were all British back then. Very meaningful, I imagine, for militia types and gun nuts everywhere: fighting for freedom against tyranny! Such romance! The irony had struck me more than once, given how “liberal” and pro-tyranny so many folks assume we all are here. Such assumptions are just so stupid, they really are, yet so overwhelmingly common everywhere.
So there we are, Lily (my 8 year old) and me, spending the day while Mommy works (I’m off) in Lexington for the festivities there. We get some really great frozen yogurt and a sandwich, then we meet Paul Revere, William Dawes and their horses – OK, re-enactors, but the rode all the way put from Boston last night and again today, switching roles so each could be Pul once. Over 20 miles on horseback, all on paved roads, not a trivial contribution really. Lily loves it, so I did too. Great day, sun, spring, and history: what could go wrong?
Then I checked my damned smartphone, stumbled quickly onto the early vague reports of explosions at the Marathon. When we got home I spent almost two hours obsessing on it all, wondering who among my contacts might be there, might be dead or legless, and so on. Very bad, very very bad.
Get this! Here I’m getting all bent out of shape over such events of the day and Lily demands – DEMANDS – went go outside and play, after an hour of more of me putting her off for ‘important stuff.’ On the way to fly a kite then play soccer, she up & says “It’s a good day and bad, some people died,” then tells me what Squidward (Spongebob’s neighbor) said on a bad day: “Just roll with it, Squiddy“. Not bad , not bad at all. Go Lily! And I felt better. Not happy exactly, but certainly better.
Thing is, even on a day like this, kites fly just the same. Life still goes on, even when it doesn’t feel that way. The wind blows, just the same. Old folks have much to teach the young, and they us. Life! No asshole with a bomb can take that away, not from everyone. Life will go on despite their hate and evil. It will, it always does.
- Alex Jones: Boston explosion a government conspiracy (salon.com)
- Explosions At Boston Marathon. Please Stop and Pray (boltbeat.com)
- Remembering patriots like Paul Revere, William Dawes (bangordailynews.com)
- Thoughts and Prayers for Boston Marathoners and Supporters (devilschasinme.wordpress.com)
- Celebrities React to Boston Marathon Explosions (justjared.com)
- Boston Bruins game postponed after Boston Marathon explosions (sbnation.com)
- Bammed in Boston (markbyron.typepad.com)
- Boston Marathon Explosions: Police Cite Possible Terrorist Attack (hollywoodlife.com)
- IEDs terrorize Boston Marathon on Patriot’s Day (roastedplums.wordpress.com)
Consumer Reports estimates that hospital errors kill 180,000 Medicare patients annually: no data were available (I wonder why? OK, no I don’t) otherwise. Gun murders amount to 12000 a year, and gun suicide deaths 18,000.
That’s right, folks, we’re putting all our energy and passion into 30,000 American gun deaths, against truly extreme resistance from legions of gun fans, when we could save far more lives simply by taking simple well-proven steps mostly for infection control. If we cut death by errors by a third, we save 60,000 lives a year: double all gun deaths, even though we’re only including Medicare patients.
The numbers, to me, speak for themselves. I’m not pro-gun by any means, but I AM pro-success, pro-public health, and pro-practical. Remember, folks, many who die for no good reason in hospitals are likely children, and all are innocent victims.
One more point: why aren’t these simple, proven ten practices long ago universal? Why is it such a monumental task to convince health professionals to wash their hands? The answer is obvious: all the steps listed take time. We simply cram too much care into our health providers’ work days: they can keep up, but they cannot do so without cutting corners to save time, often at the expense of infection control. Until we address this prioritization of profits over health, we will never manage to stop accidentally killing innocent people in droves. We need to stop paying per task: doctors and administrators have shown little or no ability to forgo extra cash by overloading their staff. Until infection rates become reasonable, until surgical errors (operated on the wrong side – really?) become reasonable, we must require everyone to slow down to a rate they can safely handle. It will affect bottom lines, yes, but if health care providers and institutions can’t be bothered to stop killing far more people than guns do, why do hire them at all? Health must come first, as it has not in “health care” for decades now. We’ve lost our way, badly, and we just as badly need to get back on track: outcomes first:
- Can Patient Safety Be Improved By Asking Three Questions? (managemypractice.com)
- National Patient Safety Foundation Announces Patient Safety 7/365 (prweb.com)
- National Patient Safety Foundation to Host Webcast on Patient Safety… (prweb.com)
- National Patient Safety Foundation to Host Webcast on Patient Safety Across the Continuum of Care (prweb.com)
- Peering Underneath the Iceberg’s Water Level: AMNews on the New ECRI “Deep Dive” Study of Health IT “Events” (hcrenewal.blogspot.com)
- Is Patient Safety an Oxymoron? (ourhealthcaresucks.com)
- The Most Dangerous Place in the World (forbes.com)
- Physician burnout is an obstacle to patient safety (kevinmd.com)
A point near and dear to my heart: health care providers need to learn better people skills. We mostly depend on our upbringing and uninformed instincts to guide our interpersonal decisions, as if there is nothing more to learn: you have it or you don’t WRONG! There is a vast, very-well established scientific and practical literature on ways to take our good intentions and greatly improve our results with people every day: better rapport, better communication, less conflict, fewer misunderstandings, more coöperation, happier patients and providers, higher quality, better outcomes and more time-efficient care. This point has been at the core of GRC since I
created it some ten years ago: people skills take not just a good heart but also knowledge and practice, and the results far outweight the effort required.
It seems the Wall Street Journal agrees:
Years ago, A Harvard Medical School team reviewed charts in New York City hospitals. They looked for cases of clear errors in practice that often lead to malpractice litigation. They also looked at the patterns of malpractice litigation, and other factors. They found that well-liked Physicians were sued far less often.
Physicians scream for relief of litigation and related insurance costs, talk about all the pernicious defensive medicine they’re ‘forced’ to practice, yet this crucial point largely for years. If you’re nice to your patients, they’re nice back. It’s nice to see the rest of the world catching up on this point. Hopefully practices will begin to change in a substantial way, not just with memorized phrases but real improvements in people skills and attitudes towards patients as human beings.
- Ten steps to a better future, better YOU. (grchealthcareblog.com)
- Veteran Physician and Licensed Attorney Creates Only Comprehensive Online Educational Resource about Malpractice and Liability Risk for Health Care Professionals (prweb.com)
- Group Urges Health-Test Curbs – WSJ.com (khannaonhealthblog.wordpress.com)
- Why I Can’t Say I’m Sorry – One Physician’s Perspective (thewritemd.net)
- Gunwant Dhaliwal on What It Takes to Be a Doctor (gunwantdhaliwal.wordpress.com)
- To Improve Healthcare, Liberate Nurses – OpEd (albanytribune.com)
- Doctors’ association accused of using aggressive ‘scorched earth’ approach to defending malpractice suits (news.nationalpost.com)
- Physicians become more like nurses! (nursemanifestblog.wordpress.com)
- Doctors and nurses could get pay rises just for being kind as Jeremy Hunt promises ‘radical overhaul’ of NHS in light of Mid Staffordshire scandal (thisismoney.co.uk)
- Nurses can talk to almost anyone about anything but… (centerforhealthmediapolicy.com)