The C2S blog draws on the arts, the social and biological sciences to explore the many meanings of health and "dis-ease." Designed to be a locus where patients, their families and professionals can meet on a level playing field, it is the natural off-shoot of the Cell 2 Soul Online Journal. We encourage the submission of ideas, essays, poems, stories, humor, and timely reviews relating to the humanities and health care.
Our Hilo correspondent, Rob Shapiro, brought an important NPR story to our attention. Reading it may save a loved one's, or your own, life!
It seems that every time researchers estimate how often a medical
mistake contributes to a hospital patient's death, the numbers come out
In 1999, the Institute of Medicine published the famous
"To Err Is Human" report, which dropped a bombshell on the medical
community by reporting that up to 98,000 people a year die because of
mistakes in hospitals. The number was initially disputed, but is now
widely accepted by doctors and hospital officials — and quoted
ubiquitously in the media.
In 2010, the Office of Inspector
General for the Department of Health and Human Services said that bad
hospital care contributed to the deaths of 180,000 patients in Medicare
alone in a given year.
Now comes a of the Journal of Patient Safety that says the numbers may be much higher — between each year who go to the hospital for care suffer some type of preventable harm that contributes to their death.
"Soon your life will have flown like a
bird from a branch!"
"A man in your fifties—and you still
would be young?" – Yehuda Halevi
You can cry in heaven if
someone kills you against your will You can take time to mourn
before visiting your loved ones back on earth to tell them
you're ok. It takes time to come to terms with death
even on the far side of the Styx if it is you who has been
killed. "I wouldn't have it any other way" reserved
for those whose deaths were innocent
I have a lot of company here,
you say, now that I have accepted my fate kept apart ‘til then lest the
other souls start remembering. . . and couldn't leave the clouds
to comfort you myself in pain not of the bodily kind but of
the soul but now I count my blessings
too and not just the mistakes
and carelessness that brought me here no more pain and I can move
freely about the earth without my power chair I don't have to hold on for
the next medication or nurture false hope
Last Collaboration, a chaos narrative, is a re-construction of Millie Niss's life and death in
a community hospital ICU. Because Millie was intubated but alert, her side of
every conversation was recorded in a series of notebooks she sent home with her
mother, Martha Deed. Millie's notes, emails, the daily diary she sent home, and
posts to her blog are set into frames constructed from her mother's log. The Last Collaboration is a powerful document from which we can all learn.
Illness narratives (pathographies) may be broken down
into three categories: quest,
restitution, and chaos stories. The
latter is the rarest and perhaps most important since there is much to learn from our mistakes. The two former ones can be “feel-good” narratives. For more on these types of narratives see: “From narrative
wreckage to islands of clarity,” a fine article from Canadian Family
Physician. The Last Collaboration is a
true “chaos story” and a narrative we can all learn much from.
Physicians who have been sued are changed people. Many of them are resilient and return to medical practice—with a healthy dose of mistrust and a touch of paranoia. Others elect to leave the profession entirely. Those who continue to practice remain vigilant, ever mindful that at some point they can be sued again. >>more
Brian T. Maurer has practiced pediatrics as a Physician Assistant for thirty years. His "Marginal Notes" column appears periodically in the Cell2Soul Blog. The title "Marginal Notes" is taken from a quote by Henry David Thoreau: "I love a broad margin to my life."
Susan Kaplan, a psychologist from California, has sent us a powerfully moving story chronicling the disconnects that can occur between patients and doctors. This is a constantly recurring theme. Her essay is a valuable resource for patients, physicians, and families.
“'Thank you for agreeing to meet with me today, Dr. Walker. There are a lot of things I still don’t understand about the twins’ birth. Do you mind if I ask you some questions?'
Laura Rosenberg had left Dr. Walker’s practice shortly after Zack and Alex’s birth nearly thirty years earlier, feeling he was to blame for the poor outcome of her pregnancy..."Download Human Connections
Dr. Kaplan would like to hear from you after you've read her essay, SK email