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home : features : features January 24, 2015

11/6/2012 5:00:00 PM
Book questions current medical practices
Rosita Smith

BLYTHE - The airways, newspapers, magazines and politicians are all crying out for medical reform. Prices for procedures and medications are becoming unsustainable.

Are you risking your life when you go to the hospital? Consider this: a study found that one in four patients are harmed by medical errors. Another study revealed that doctors operated on the wrong body part as often as 40 times each week! Every day medical care that is unnecessary, outdated or downright dangerous awaits unwitting patients - even at some of our most prestigious hospitals.

How did we get into this predicament? According to author Marty Makary, MD, traditional medicine as we know it is run without any transparency: the establishment does whatever it wants to do without having to face any accountability for their actions.

If you are a toxic doctor (think bully) the establishment covers for you; if you want one of the new medical toys (think robotic surgery) the hospital will oblige; if you prefer laparoscopic surgery instead of invasive, open abdominal surgery the doctor will wear you down until you give in (because he will get paid more for the traditional way of operating.)

But hope is on the horizon. Marty Makary, MD, in his book Unaccountable: What Hospitals Won't Tell You and How Transparency Can Revolutionize Health Care has shown that the lack of transparency in the medical world allows medical professionals to write-their-own-ticket without any negative fallout to contend with.

Currently, the fifth leading cause of death in the United States is medical mistakes; the number of medical errors every year is equivalent to four jumbo jets crashing every week.

According to a new survey of leaders in American medicine, approximately one quarter of all medications and medical procedures may not be necessary. Many hospitals compensate doctors on an "eat-what-you-kill" basis: The more procedures they perform the higher their year-end bonus will be. If you wish to file a complaint, the administrative officer is "not available at this time."

Now there is a new generation of doctors pushing to open up medicine to make hospital outcomes available to the public and to make bedside care more honest. As medicine comes out of its black box of secrecy; when transparency becomes more universal; when everyone has access to costs and medical options, the worst performers will either have to change or leave the profession.

Studies and surveys have shown that where transparency is practiced lives are saved, waste reduced, costs go down and improvement is evident in all aspects of the medical profession.

With all the fervor over Obama care, does his agenda create transparency and improvement or will the old school with its favoritism and high propriety costs win?

Unaccountability has run up costs to the breaking point. Accountability brings the costs out into the open, which traditionally fleshes out overpayment and brings costs into line. You've got to read Unaccountable. Then you decide which is best.

Unaccountable is on the new non-fiction shelf under 610.73 Marka.

The Palo Verde Valley Library is located at 125 W. Chanslorway in Blythe. Phone: 770-922-5371.

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