Saturday, May 13, 2006

If Doctors Can’t Fix Them, Who Can?

Long-time friend Bob Odean was good enough to call to my attention the May 1 issue of Time magazine and its lead article titled Q: What Scares Doctors. The theme of the article is that when doctors need health care, they are as vulnerable to medical errors as anyone else.

The key sentence, in my mind, said “While doctors are often in a better position than most of us to spot the hazards in the hospital and the holes in their care, they can’t necessarily fix them.”

Which raises the question; if the doctors can’t fix them, who can?

To me, the answer is pretty clear. Hospitals have to do it. There isn’t anybody else. We don’t see that yet, because we remain immobilized by the notion that the practice of medicine and the doctor-patient relationship are sacrosanct and not to be interfered with.

When we get over that, health care reform can begin in earnest. Maybe admitting that doctors can’t fix the hazards or plug the holes is the necessary first step.

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