An extremely compelling TED talk has been making its way around cyberspace and getting a notable amount of attention in world of public health. In 2012 Dr. Atul Gawande delivered a talk entitled, “Why We Need A New Kind of Doctor”. Dr. Gawande is a surgeon, Harvard Professor and staff writer at the New Yorker.
The talk provided some very interesting data. In 1970, the average number of doctors to treat a patient was two. At the end of the 20th century, this number increased to 15. Further, Dr. Gawande stated that 60% of pneumonia patients and 40% of coronary heart disease patients do not receive complete care. Perhaps more astonishing is that two million people who enter hospitals leave with infections they didn’t come in with, merely because a care provider forgot to wash their hands.
Additionally, Dr. Gawande says that given the dramatic increase in the number of drugs a doctor can prescribe, the number of procedures available to any given patient and the increasing patient load, a doctor just “can’t do it all”.
He argues that in light of this, we need to strengthen the systems in place in our hospitals. Specifically, he argues that we can develop simple systems in hospitals in order to avoid tragic medical mistakes. For example, he promotes doctors working as a team as well as the use of checklists. In his talk he stated that the use of checklists has been proven cut death rates in half.
Dr. Gawande has written bestselling books on this topic including “Better” and “The Checklist Manifesto”, both being selected as one of the top ten best books in 2007.
Our medical system is in trouble and we are all at risk. We hope to see Hawaii care practitioners implement cost-effective ideas like those that Dr. Gawande has suggested. For more information about medical malpractice in Hawaii or if you or a loved one has been injured as a result of medical malpractice don’t hesitate to contact us.
Posted in Medical Malpractice, Personal Injury