Do most healthcare professionals care? My evidence is clear: Yes! (Exclamation mark deserved.)

Lab techs.

Not good enough.

Hang out with old people, and the topic invariably turns to health—or the lack thereof. Well, I was at a small dinner last night, four couples. Among the men I was the youngster at 65, though 70 was the upper end. I’ve gotten in the habit, for professional reasons, of digging a little when the likes of surgery is discussed.

So, here’s last night’s scorecard:

***Bypass surgery: nearly died of infection in ICU.
***Other open-heart surgery: nearly died due to anesthesia problem; nurse caught it when patient’s color went all haywire.
***Kidney surgery: nearly bit the dust due to badly wrong meds administered during recuperation—nurse caught it when patient turned odd color.
***Death: best friend of one of us died last year when pneumonia went un-diagnosed, patient was sent home and croaked in 72 hours.
***TP (me): bought my farm because 52-year-old prior owner had bypass surgery, went home, had severe pain, was told by phone it was routine—and died of infection in 48 hours.


(1) Every one of us had relatively recent personal (family, close friend) horror stories.
(2) None of us, except for the installation of my pacemaker, could recall a personal hospitalization without errors worthy of remark.
(3) None of the horror stories involved the “it;” e.g., the surgeon’s work during the procedure.
(4) Hence, all the above are preventable errors.
(5) Thank God for nurses!!!
(6) All agreed, not prompted by me, that a fulltime, “24/7” advocate (family or friend) was needed for any hospitalization.
(7) None of the above took place at a small “boondocks” hospital—all were in med centers of high repute.
(8) None of us or our friends in question was uninsured—we all had at least Buick coverage.

This really pisses me off.
And I shall continue to say so at every opportunity.

There are no excuses.

Make no mistake, this is a story of lousy management and sloppy leadership—not, primarily, the result of lousy health policy.

Make no mistake, this is a story of unconscionably lousy management and almost criminally sloppy leadership—not, primarily, the product of bad health policy.

Tom Peters posted this on August 25, 2008, in Healthcare.
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