Thursday, March 13, 2014

A plane crash every day

Every day that has passed as they search for the wreckage of the Malaysia Airline plane, another plane has crashed in America.  Well, better put, the equivalent number of people have died every day from preventable harm in America's hospitals.

Which story gets our attention?  Which is the greater public health hazard?

Remember Captain Sullenberger's words as he remarked on the scattered application of systemic approaches to safety in the health care industry: "We have islands of excellence in a sea of systemic failures. We need to teach all practitioners the science of safety."

"I wish we were less patient. We are choosing every day we go to work how many lives should be lost in this country."


Anonymous said...

As we have discussed before, it is precisely the lack of drama in the drip drip one at a time deaths which occur, unheralded for selfish reasons, in our hospitals, which explains the inertia. However, if one could put together all of the weeping relatives of these patients it would certainly rival the sad pictures we are seeing on the news.
Which, by the way, is one of the more odd plane (presumed) I have ever heard of.

nonlocal MD

Unknown said...

This is an important point. I tweeted it. Thanks-Jennifer Brokaw, MD

Paul Levy said...

Thank you.

Anonymous said...

Dear Paul,

"I wish we were less patient..." really resonates. I am working with a local medical fetter as part of a patient/caregiver/family partnership. It is good work, and valuable to improving the patient experience.

At the same time I feel as if all I do is complain. Yet when we learn that referrals come in via fax machines.... Really?

I now read your blog regularly, to my benefit. Please, if you can offer any advice about how to partner with the medical facility in a way that benefits all, I'd jump for pleasure.

Thank you for the blog.