Saturday, July 11, 2015

Serious business at Telluride East

The Telluride Patient Safety Summer Camp has continued this week, with a new group of students and new residents joining together with the faculty in Maryland. After a full couple of days in the classroom--often characterized by good-hearted banter as well as hard work--the group boarded a bus for a visit to Arlington National Cemetery.  Here, Rosemary Gibson, author of The Wall of Silence and other important works about the health care system, pointed out that the cemetery holds over 300,000 members of the military and their families.  She noted, "The military is very good about keeping track of its members, noting everyone who is wounded or killed."  The contrast with health care is vivid.  In the US, 400,000 people die from preventable harm in the country's hospitals, which would require the construction of a new national cemetery every year.  Also, unlike in the military, the victims of medical harm are essentially anonymous.  We don't always keep track of the individual cases, and often we don't learn from them.

Rosemary asked the attendees to think about people they had known who had suffered from medical errors and to pay them tribute.  Some spoke out, but all seriously considered her words.  Here are some of the faces of our faculty and participants.


Retired said...

Sadly, there continues to be reticence to acknowledging mistakes among Heathcare providers. A code of silence still exists to "protect our own" as well as the complaint that more transparency only opens folks up to frivolous lawsuits and the claim that malpractice suits are the cause of the galloping healthcare costs. We are in an age of complete denial of responsibility on way too many fronts. As a country, we have failed to have any required reporting system for monitoring drug resistance infections and this is only one example of the resistance to bringing anything but good news into the light. Until people are willing to honestly confront their mistakes and those of others and to look at the problems, the problems will only grow. Sad to say, over the years I have seen incompetent physicians continue to practice until they are nearly killing patients in the hospital lobby. Anyone confronting the wall of silence is faced with a plethora of excuses as to why it is allowed to go on--- or even worse, the messenger is ostracized. I someone's wonder what the practice of medicine would be like if not shrouded in the need for privacy. Imagine that every contact with a patient were to be recorded as happens in so many other areas of our lives. If protection of our financial transactions is so vital that it bears recording, why is the same not true in situation in which great harm can be done?

Carole said...

Did you just get inside my head and steal my thoughts? You did!!! There are so many who feel exactly like us but are unaware of forums and opportunities like this to express their thoughts and concerns. And then theirs those who do, but believe no ones listening and no one cares, so why bother, you know? I hope,wish and pray I live to see the day changes are made that benefit us all, what a satisfied way to go out :)....... Thanks Retired you said it all, perfectly.