Saturday, March 27, 2010

Today's new word is iatrogenic

This is a article written by a businessman who set out to understand the health care system after his father died of an infection he got while in the hospital. The author says he's a Democrat, and he says he favored health care reform this year.

It's a long article; but if you want to understand the problems that we currently have in our health care system it's a good place to start.

"Iatrogenic" by the way means "caused by physicians." Every year hundreds of thousands of people die due to physician and hospital mistakes. In a way that isn't surprising, because doctors are no different from other people and hospitals are no more efficient than other human institutions. They're not perfect -they have bad days, they make mistakes, and sometimes they're careless or distracted. And, sometimes they are simply wilfull. What killed the author's father is the fact that doctors and hospitals don't pay enough attention to infection control and sterilization. On the simplest level many doctors resist the added time and effort needed to really control hospital caused infections, and hospital administrators are not willing to push them on the matter, in part because our current system of health care reimbursement does not penalize hospitals for bad results.

No comments: