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New book explores physician silence and patient safety

On Behalf of | Oct 4, 2012 | Medical Malpractice

When seeking knowledge, modern Americans often turn first to the Internet. However, there are other sources of media which remain steadfastly informed, detailed and useful for every kind of person. Radio, television shows, magazines and books may not be able to generate as many immediate options for every kind of question as the Internet does, but they often provide information which is more accountable and ultimately more rooted in fact than many websites are.

When matters of patient safety are discussed, it can often be challenging to know what to believe and what to dismiss. Certainly, the medical industry posts various safety comparisons and medical malpractice rates online. But one author has recently insisted that physicians and hospitals do not often give patients all the information they need access to in order to trust fully in their medical care and treatment plans.

In his new book, “Unaccountable: What Hospitals Won’t Tell You and How Transparency Can Revolutionize Health Care,” surgeon Marty Makary explores the unofficial “code of silence” that allegedly exists amongst many in the medical profession.

He examines the idea that medical providers are often so protective of their own that patient safety gets compromised. For example, older physicians may decline in their skills and others will fail to hold them accountable when someone gets hurt. Other physicians have ties to the drug companies and tend to be more interested in profit than patient safety.

Makary recently told CNN that “for every doctor who has called him a traitor, five have thanked him for telling the story behind the statistics, which show that one of every four patients who is hospitalized is harmed by a medical error.”

Most physicians place a significant premium on patient safety and well-being. But not every physician approaches medicine this way. Makary’s efforts remind us all that rather than simply researching patient safety with a few clicks of the mouse, we should dig deeper and explore the problem urgently and with properly detailed care.

Source: CNN, “Exposing the medical ‘code of silence,’” Libby Lewis, Sep. 21, 2012