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“Hospitals and Medicines: Are They Miracles or Agents of Death?”

In 2012, Dr. Marty Makary, a surgeon at Johns Hopkins Hospital, authored a book entitled, “Unaccountable: What Hospitals Won’t Tell You and How Transparency Can Revolutionize Health Care.”  Dr. Makary pointed out that medical errors kill enough people to fill four jumbo jets a week but these mistakes go largely unnoticed by the public.  Reportedly, the same preventable mistakes are made over and over again, and patients are left in the dark about which hospitals have significantly better (or worse) safety records than their peers.  Accusations are made that doctors are reluctant to report mistakes made by their colleagues.  Whistle blowing doctors, who call out other doctors, can be targeted.  According to a Wall Street Journal article, roughly a quarter of all hospitalized patients will be harmed by a medical error of some kind.  The problem is widespread and American surgeons operate on the wrong body part as often as forty times a week.  If medical errors were a disease, they would be the sixth leading cause of death in America, coming in just behind accidents and ahead of Alzheimer’s; and, this does not include deaths from medicines.

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