Hospital Errors

Hamodia of April 20 carried a fantastic story (“We’re Sorry” by Sandra G. Boodman) about serious hospital errors and a new way for hospitals to deal with them: by admitting what was done wrong, apologizing for it, and trying to compensate the victim(s).

Whereas years ago we were laughed at for refusing elective surgery, now the truth is coming out: people die in hospitals, and not of disease. They die of nosocomial infections and doctor errors. Thanks to courageous publications like Hamodia, the truth is now out that hospitals should be treated like wars. Get in only if you absolutely must and get out the second you can, as medical maverick, author and frum Jew Dr. Robert S. Mendelsohn, z”l, urged us decades ago.

We used to hear that hospital errors caused 100,000 Americans to die annually, but according to this landmark article (which quotes Johns Hopkins Hospital), the number is 251,000.

Baruch Hashem, I gave birth to my babies at home and those babies, now grown up, gave birth to their own babies at home, too. Healthy people who walk into hospitals are taking their lives (and their babies’ lives) in their hands.

We don’t believe that most doctors are malicious; they’re just part of a big system that until now didn’t allow them to be honest about their mistakes. It was against the rules. Instead, they were taught to erect “a big white wall of silence,” where doctors protect other doctors, the truth stays hidden, and the patient pays the price.

I am sure that all Hamodia’s hospital and doctor advertisers were not happy to see this article in print because “patient non-compliance,” when patients simply refuse to follow orders (for example, rejecting elective surgery), is not to their benefit. The fact that Hamodia ran it anyway is much to the newspaper’s credit.

Rishe Deitsch, Senior Editor,
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