Wednesday, May 2, 2012

Becoming "Better"

Something that prominently stuck out to me in Gawande's book was his relation of failure in the medical field to making error in baseball as a third baseman. If a baseball player were to miss a throw or overshoot a throw the fans would boo him and make fun of him and the press would be all over him for the next few days. Errors like these could hurt a baseball players career, no matter how experienced in the field he is. This is the same for medicine but worse. When doctors make errors, like performing the wrong surgery, or leaving an instrument inside the person, or giving a wrong treatment or prescription, it could cost the person's life. "Nobody would see him in quite the same light,"(Gawande 107). In medicine, Gawande notes that families who do get hurt by faulty medicinal practices, do not even end up suing for what they should rightfully get. These families usually do not even receive an apology or any additional help. The doctor may be too ashamed to face what happened or the situation he or she caused.

Additionally, I feel as if the checklist that Gawande talks about is also something that should be taken up by the majority of hospitals in the coming 10 years or more. This is because the checklist, if done right, is perfect at making surgeries run much more smoothly. When all the people on the team know each other an they know for sure that they have done certain procedures, and what job each will be doing, there is not as much of a window for error. According to a quick survey in class today it is clear that most people getting operated on would prefer if doctors use this checklist because it makes the procedure much more safe. Gawande points out that some doctors can be vey careless because they just want to get in, get out, and make their money. In his "Piecework" chapter, Gawande mentions that some doctors who seem way too interested in just collecting money are questionable because the care they give cannot be reliable when all they care about is how much money they're receiving. All in all, I agree with what was said in class today, that although the medical field tries to be a system, it cannot be because there are so many problems that need to be fixed and not enough togetherness among practitioners.

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