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medical system in the US is the 3rd leading cause of death

This is right behind cancer and heart disease. Medical errors kill people, drug interactions kill people, hospital infections kill people, surgeries kill people, poorly trained at home nurses kill people. Even great surgeons kill people. A simple mistake from a heart surgeon, one wrong stitch and you are dead.

Do you know what happens when a hospital or a doctor makes a mistake? The CLAM up, and do everything in your power from knowing that an error has occured.


Wed. Nov 7, 11:52am

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Just another reason to keep yourself healthy : )

Wednesday, November 07, 2007, 5:34 PM

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For all the mistakes and possibilities, I would take American health care over any other. I live most of my life out of the U.S. because of my husband's work. The German health care system is supposed to be fabulous, but when I went to a doctor there for foot pain, I was scheduled for appointment after appointment. When I returned to the U.S. - still in pain after 6 months of weekly doctor visits, I saw a Podiatrist. One visit ended my pain and taught me what I needed to do keep it from returning. My son had a similar experience - for him, it was 3 surgeries, 3 years of pain. On seeing a U.S. doctor, it was 2 doctor visits and the problem was solved. Over and over, we have had difficulty with non-U.S. health care until I put off getting treatment for anything I can put off until I can get back to that good old US health care system.

Thursday, November 08, 2007, 12:28 AM

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I think people here in the US take everything they have and have access to for granted. Go to any other country and experience what there health care systems are like. Stop the bitching and complaining and save it until you really have something to compare it to. I've live in South America for 2 years and their system was horrible, I've also lived in France and the same thing. We have it really good here. Doctors aren't Gods they don't know everything and sometimes they even misdiagnose things until they figure it out. But we do get outstanding care.

Thursday, November 08, 2007, 1:01 AM

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I'm just waiting for the "I'm so glad I'm Canadian" crap to begin...she always makes an appearance on these threads.

Thursday, November 08, 2007, 9:06 AM

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i'd agree with everyone else....wait until you've experienced health care in other parts of the world to judge because health care is truly better here than anywhere else. and i certainly hope there isn't any canadian to give some "canadians have better health care" spiel. when you have universal health care you have people going to the doctor for stupid reasons like the common cold instead of taking the time to judge where they're truly sick or not which means it takes forever to get things like surgery in canada. in fact, many canadians who have the means, fly themselves to the u.s. for important health care and things such as surgery.

Thursday, November 08, 2007, 9:15 AM

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9:06 this one is for you!!!

I am glad I am Canadian!!!

Plus our dollar is doing so fabulously, we can afford to pay your high health care prices if we needed to consult some of your experts most of who really are Canadian doctors who moved to US because of lower taxes....

As long you guys don't invade us because of our oil!


Thursday, November 08, 2007, 9:54 AM

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I am a doctor and it really angers me to hear so much ignorance coming from some of you. You have no idea what it's like to be a doctor, to have to make judgment calls and to try your best to diagnose whoever comes in. Have you tried having that many people's health in your hands? Do you know why we have to rely so much on tests these days? Because otherwise we get sued to no end by ignorant people like you. Yes there are drugs that carry a risk of death. Sometimes not taking a drug also carries a risk of death. It is our job to try our best to inform our patients what the best course of action is. I became a doctor so that I could help people like all of you, because I cared about others. So before you go spewing your ignorance into other people's ears, ask yourself what have YOU done to help mankind today? Until you stand in my shoes and the shoes of every other doctor, don't go assuming that it's all a big conspiracy and repeating whatever other things you most likely did not come up with yourself but heard from someone else.

Thursday, November 08, 2007, 12:57 PM

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Well said PP, I'm glad a doctor commented here.

IMO we expect doctors to be perfect when in fact they are not. Mistakes are made, they are human. But like other posters said, I would rather be here in the U.S. with our health care than somewhere else in the world. We really are very lucky, so lucky in fact that many take it for granted...

Thursday, November 08, 2007, 1:13 PM

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DON'T FORGET! Heart disease is the #1 killer but you still see overweight people everywhere, slowly killing themselves and driving up our health care costs. Are we going to start a thread to rant about that too?
If doctors and the health care system need to be held accountable I guess they should be too right?

Thursday, November 08, 2007, 1:16 PM

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12:57- wow, you have served to reinforce what I think about doctors. That you guys are defensive, close minded and deep down just not that nice. One thing I know about doctors is that the best doctors are usually the ones with the best bedside manner, who leave their egos at the door.

When you are really good, you don't need to be defensive. My guess is that you are a primary care doctor frustrated by many factors:

1) increase complexity of medicine is hard to keep up with
2) low rates of pay from the insurance company has forced you to practice "ten minute medicine" where you race against the clock to figure out what is wrong with someone before you have to get the next patient in just to pay the bills.

3) malpractice lawsuits are out of control, which further decreases your ability to make money.

So I do understand your frustration, but you knew what you were getting into. You may want to consider getting into another line of work where the pressure is not so great.

Thursday, November 08, 2007, 1:22 PM

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Medical system is the third leading cause of death? Of course I don't have all the facts but I doubt this is true. When people go to the doctor or the hospital it's because they are already sick or dieing. Sometimes there are no "right" decisions to make. If the doctor makes a decison and the person dies anyway it's might not be the doctors fault. Of course there are sad cases where an otherwise healthy person goes to the doctor for a simple procedure and ends up dieing due to blatent error.

I recently heard a talk given by a hospise worker where he talked about the "fault" of death. In his opinion, in our society we have in the back of our minds this idea that were are not suppose to die. When someone dies it must be someones fault, maybe the person's fault for smoking or being overweight, maybe the doctor's fault for not taking the proper course of action. Someone has to be to blame instead of just accepting death as a natural part of life. I thought it was an interesting point and the more I listen to how people talk about death the more I think it's true.

Death happens, and the fact that much of it happens in the hands of health workers does not necessarily mean it is their fault.

Thursday, November 08, 2007, 2:07 PM

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As a healthcare administrator - I refuse to work in the industry

As a healthcare administrator - I refuse to work in the industry. I obtained my Master of Science in Health Care Administration and when I found out the statistics on medical errors, I refused to put my name in the mix. I am embarassed over the nightmare that is "Healthcare Nightmare in USA". It is a sad shame and Michael Moore was right. Managed Care, Profits, pharmaceuticals and love of money destroyed our healthcare system

Thursday, November 08, 2007, 2:29 PM

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Doctor - Be proactive and put the control back in your hands and out of the Managed Cares control.

As a physician, you are exremely limited in many of the decisions you make. You may make a diagnosis and provide a prescription but it is managed care who determines whether that prescription gets filled or how it gets filled. You have to have prior approval for many of your procedures and you are not payed what you bill for. Get angry enough to convince your fellow collegues to take control back. We the patient and consumer need more backing from our physicians. I am tired of taking my prescription to the pharmacy and they attempt to switch my prescription to generics. I have to defend you the doctor to the pharmacist. I have to tell the pharmacist he does not have a dea number or medical license to prescribe and do not switch my prescription under no circumstances . I am tired of having to pay at the front end (money out of pay check, middle (co-pay) and the back end (money that is not payable by insurance and/not decreased by what you and the managed care company negotiated on). I am being ripped off royally.

At the end of the day you are getting screwed monetarily and so am I. We have a messed up health care system due to greed of MCO. .

Thursday, November 08, 2007, 2:42 PM

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12:57, assuming you are a doctor:

" You have no idea what it's like to be a doctor, to have to make judgment calls and to try your best to diagnose whoever comes in. Have you tried having that many people's health in your hands?"

If you can't handle being a doctor, please do us all a favor and get out of medicine! It's doctors like you that that misdiagnose patients who are paying you to figure out what's going on and here you are bragging you can't handle it and then calling the patient ignorant!

I've been on this site promoting osteopaths because they don't line their pockets with FDA and HMO money--that's what i've done for man kind!

Thursday, November 08, 2007, 3:02 PM

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http://www.cancure.org/medical_errors.htm

Here is a link that you can go to, to get updated on the statistics. Important information - Stay healthy by all means.

Thursday, November 08, 2007, 3:15 PM

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Get your head out of the mud.

Medical Errors - A Leading Cause of Death

The JOURNAL of the AMERICAN MEDICAL ASSOCIATION (JAMA) Vol 284, No 4, July 26th 2000 article written by Dr Barbara Starfield, MD, MPH, of the Johns Hopkins School of Hygiene and Public Health, shows that medical errors may be the third leading cause of death in the United States.

The report apparently shows there are 2,000 deaths/year from unnecessary surgery; 7000 deaths/year from medication errors in hospitals; 20,000 deaths/year from other errors in hospitals; 80,000 deaths/year from infections in hospitals; 106,000 deaths/year from non-error, adverse effects of medications - these total up to 225,000 deaths per year in the US from iatrogenic causes which ranks these deaths as the # 3 killer. Iatrogenic is a term used when a patient dies as a direct result of treatments by a physician, whether it is from misdiagnosis of the ailment or from adverse drug reactions used to treat the illness. (drug reactions are the most common cause).

The National Academies website published an article titled "Preventing Death and Injury From Medical Errors Requires Dramatic, System-Wide Changes." which you can read online at http://www4.nationalacademies.org/news.nsf/isbn/0309068371?OpenDocument or the book "To Err Is Human: Building a Safer Health System" at http://www.nap.edu/books/0309068371/html/ - These show medical errors as a leading cause of death.

Based on the findings of one major study, medical errors kill some 44,000 people in U.S. hospitals each year. Another study puts the number much higher, at 98,000. Even using the lower estimate, more people die from medical mistakes each year than from highway accidents, breast cancer, or AIDS. And deaths from medication errors that take place both in and out of hospitals are aid to be more than 7,000 annually.


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Prescription Drugs - Leading Killer in USA

According to information we have received, a statistical study of hospital deaths in the U.S. conducted at the University of Toronto revealed that pharmaceutical drugs kill more people every year than are killed in traffic accidents.

The study is said to show that more than two million American hospitalized patients suffered a serious adverse drug reaction (ADR) within the 12-month period of the study and, of these, over 100,000 died as a result. The researchers found that over 75 per cent of these ADRs were dose-dependent, which suggests they were due to the inherent toxicity of the drugs rather than to allergic reactions.

The data did not include fatal reactions caused by accidental overdoses or errors in administration of the drugs. If these had been included, it is estimated that another 100,000 deaths would be added to the total every year.

The researchers concluded that ADRs are now the fourth leading cause of death in the United States after heart disease, cancer, and stroke.

Source: Jason, et al. (Lazarou et al), Incidence of Adverse Drug Reactions in Hospitalized Patients, Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA), Vol. 279. April 15, 1998, pp. 1200-05. Also Bates, David W., Drugs and Adverse Drug Reactions: How Worried Should We Be? JAMA, Vol. 279. April 15, 1998, pp. 1216-17.



Thursday, November 08, 2007, 3:20 PM

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A few points I want to make after reading this thread:

1. Doctors are only human. They work horribly long hours, are overstressed, over tired, and overwhelmed. There needs to be a major change in the workplace for them and other medical professionals, particularly at hospitals and in ERs. These horrible conditions are the root of many mistakes.

2. Doctors can prescribe what they think is best, but it is up to the insurer to decide what they will provide to you. That isn't a mistake, it's the way a truly capitalist health care system works.

3. Sick people go to the doctor. Some of them will end up dying. Is that the fault of the doctor? See number 1.

4. Socialized health care is a wonderful ideal, but it is extremely expensive to implement well. Obviously if you spread the wealth around health-wise so everyone gets "just enough," then the people who can afford better will want better. The people who cannot afford what they are provided will be grateful for the system. The wealthy will leave the country if they need to in order to get the care they want and can afford. Should they still pay into the socialized system if they don't use it? And if then the wealthy are excluded from the system, is it truly socialized medicine or is it just a program for the "have nots?"

5. Lots of people make poor health decisions. They smoke, drink too much, drive recklessly, eat too much, and in general don't live with their health in mind. These people have always existed (and probably always will.) We can't legislate them out of existence, just as we can't prevent poor people from having babies they can't afford to raise. It is up to society to decide whether or not to care for people who won't or can't care for themselves, and to what extend it will help them. See number 4.

K, I'm off to the gym now...

Thursday, November 08, 2007, 3:22 PM

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This is 12:57 -- the doctor.

1:22 pm: I could say that "wow, you have served to reinforce what I think about the average ignorant person. That you guys are, well, ignorant, think you know more than you do about "analyzing" people, and are quick to blame others when things go wrong." Since all doctors are "defensive with big egos" that would fit perfectly for me to make such a crass over generalized statement about someone I know very little about. What's your excuse?

Of course I am frustrated by many things in my profession. BUT, contrary to what most of you seem to think, I didn't go to medical school, through residency, and then through specialized training simply to have an easy time. I did all that because I wanted to help other people. Yes, of course I knew what I was getting myself into. I just didn't let it stop me from doing what I thought was best -- helping others. But at the same time, that doesn't mean having ignorant, yes ignorant, people blame me and the rest of my profession because somehow they equate doctors with being miracle workers/gods instead of humans, any more pleasant. Am I supposed to enjoy that? Am I supposed to listen to people who can't form well-informed opinions of there own, but sway whichever way some movie like Sicko pushes them?

So yes, it does bother me immensely to see people make unfounded or ignorant statements about doctors and how WE are the ones responsible for causing so many deaths in the US. As someone pointed out earlier, people get sick and die. It's an unfortunate but real fact of life. The baseline of human body is not perfect health, so stop expecting it to be. My job as a doctor is to do my best to help people when they are sick. Yes medicine can have adverse effects. If you're so bothered by it, then simply don't take medicine. Then you're body can do what it intended, which is BE sick. I honestly don't believe many of you have experienced health care outside of the US. If you had, you would realize how great the US Healthcare system is in comparison. It's not perfect, but it's a hell of a lot better than anywhere else. A healthy, long life is something you strive for, not some right that's owed to you. If you have issues with that, talk to the big guy in the sky tonight.

Thursday, November 08, 2007, 4:13 PM

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Stay at the GYM!!!!!!!

A few points I want to make after reading this thread:

1. Doctors are only human. They work horribly long hours, are overstressed, over tired, and overwhelmed. There needs to be a major change in the workplace for them and other medical professionals, particularly at hospitals and in ERs. These horrible conditions are the root of many mistakes.

2. Doctors can prescribe what they think is best, but it is up to the insurer to decide what they will provide to you. That isn't a mistake, it's the way a truly capitalist health care system works.

3. Sick people go to the doctor. Some of them will end up dying. Is that the fault of the doctor? See number 1.

4. Socialized health care is a wonderful ideal, but it is extremely expensive to implement well. Obviously if you spread the wealth around health-wise so everyone gets "just enough," then the people who can afford better will want better. The people who cannot afford what they are provided will be grateful for the system. The wealthy will leave the country if they need to in order to get the care they want and can afford. Should they still pay into the socialized system if they don't use it? And if then the wealthy are excluded from the system, is it truly socialized medicine or is it just a program for the "have nots?"

5. Lots of people make poor health decisions. They smoke, drink too much, drive recklessly, eat too much, and in general don't live with their health in mind. These people have always existed (and probably always will.) We can't legislate them out of existence, just as we can't prevent poor people from having babies they can't afford to raise. It is up to society to decide whether or not to care for people who won't or can't care for themselves, and to what extend it will help them. See number 4.

K, I'm off to the gym now...

Thursday, November 08, 2007, 3:22 PM


Please stay at the gym. All the things you mentioned will not prevent MEDICAL ERRORS. Get educated while you are at the gym, because when you come back the problem will still exist. The problem = TOO MANY MEDICAL ERRORS WHICH HAVE NOTHING TO DO WITH HAVING A BABY OUT OF WEDLOCK, BEING POOR, AND/OR BEING AN ALCOHOLIC, DRUG ADDICT, ETC.

Thursday, November 08, 2007, 4:17 PM

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hah i think this thread is funny. overweight people are the biggest burden on the health care system today. smokers have terrible medical problems but a shorter lifespan; overweight people have a myriad of health problems but can live for a decently long amount of time. so let's not blame doctors. let's blame fat people!

Thursday, November 08, 2007, 4:18 PM

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Wow, I think that 3:22pm's comments are actually the most educated and well thought out that I've read so far on this thread. 3:22pm just said that medical errors can only prescribe what they think are best and are only human. I'm curious 4:17pm, what do you should be done to decrease the number of medical errors? I'm just "dying" (haha) to hear your well-educated thoughts. And please, no cop out answers like doctors should just do better.

Thursday, November 08, 2007, 4:22 PM

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Oh, that would be doctors can only prescribe....not medical errors. My bad.

Thursday, November 08, 2007, 4:23 PM

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4:13 - you comments are an education to me about the arrogance of doctors. Your repeated use of the word "ignorance" is illuminating. A car mechanic does not call someone who can't fix an engine "ignorant". A CPA does not call someone "ignorant" who is not a tax expert. Yet you use this word and think it is ok. I understand that you are frustrated, but taking it out on people who simply want to maybe not risk dying at the hands of the healthcare system might not be the best approach.

Are you a primary care doctor or a specialist?

Thursday, November 08, 2007, 4:36 PM

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Someone who can't diagnose him or herself or provide the medical care that doctors do is not ignorant. But someone who presumes to know about being a doctor, about doctors "lining their pockets with FDA and HMO money" and caring only about profit, and about my ability to handle being a doctor IS ignorant. And arrogant at that. Just as someone who can't fix an engine shouldn't be called ignorant, but someone who doesn't know how to fix their car and then goes in to scream at the mechanic that they "must" be cheating them since their car is not working again -- I'd consider that person ignorant. And that's not even a great analogy since it's not the same as trying to diagnose a patient.

I am a neurologist.

Thursday, November 08, 2007, 4:54 PM

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3:22 here.

4:17, thanks for completely missing my point. Go take a deep breath and then come back and read again.

Thursday, November 08, 2007, 5:09 PM

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aaaaaaaaahhhhhhh all the insecure little people ahahahahahaha. this thread is hilarious. you are all stupid. let's just leave the rich doctor alone and go cry because we are fat and poor and will never be as good as her hahaha

doctor: "you are all ignorant!! die! all of you die! none of you are as good as me!"
other people on thread: "i'm not ignorant damn you! i have a masters in health care administration whooooooooooo im just as impressive as you with your MD! stop making me feel bad!!!"

*rolling eyes*

Thursday, November 08, 2007, 6:17 PM

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It seems to me that people love to hate people who make money...doctors, lawyers, ect.

I have several friends who are in medical school right now and their finacial futures are not as secure as you might imagine. With the rising cost of education, malpractice insurance...they are worried. And these are good friends of mine who went into this area of study to make a difference so please don't bash them.



Thursday, November 08, 2007, 6:57 PM

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http://www.globalaging.org/health/us/2007/bestmedicare.htm

World’s Best Medical Care?





New York Times



August 12, 2007





Many Americans are under the delusion that we have “the best health care system in the world,” as President Bush sees it, or provide the “best medical care in the world,” as Rudolph Giuliani declared last week. That may be true at many top medical centers. But the disturbing truth is that this country lags well behind other advanced nations in delivering timely and effective care.

Michael Moore struck a nerve in his new documentary, “Sicko,” when he extolled the virtues of the government-run health care systems in France, England, Canada and even Cuba while deploring the failures of the largely private insurance system in this country. There is no question that Mr. Moore overstated his case by making foreign systems look almost flawless. But there is a growing body of evidence that, by an array of pertinent yardsticks, the United States is a laggard not a leader in providing good medical care.

Seven years ago, the World Health Organization made the first major effort to rank the health systems of 191 nations. France and Italy took the top two spots; the United States was a dismal 37th. More recently, the highly regarded Commonwealth Fund has pioneered in comparing the United States with other advanced nations through surveys of patients and doctors and analysis of other data. Its latest report, issued in May, ranked the United States last or next-to-last compared with five other nations — Australia, Canada, Germany, New Zealand and the United Kingdom — on most measures of performance, including quality of care and access to it. Other comparative studies also put the United States in a relatively bad light.

Insurance coverage. All other major industrialized nations provide universal health coverage, and most of them have comprehensive benefit packages with no cost-sharing by the patients. The United States, to its shame, has some 45 million people without health insurance and many more millions who have poor coverage. Although the president has blithely said that these people can always get treatment in an emergency room, many studies have shown that people without insurance postpone treatment until a minor illness becomes worse, harming their own health and imposing greater costs.



Thursday, November 08, 2007, 10:18 PM

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Cont. ...


Fairness. The United States ranks dead last on almost all measures of equity because we have the greatest disparity in the quality of care given to richer and poorer citizens. Americans with below-average incomes are much less likely than their counterparts in other industrialized nations to see a doctor when sick, to fill prescriptions or to get needed tests and follow-up care.

Healthy lives. We have known for years that America has a high infant mortality rate, so it is no surprise that we rank last among 23 nations by that yardstick. But the problem is much broader. We rank near the bottom in healthy life expectancy at age 60, and 15th among 19 countries in deaths from a wide range of illnesses that would not have been fatal if treated with timely and effective care. The good news is that we have done a better job than other industrialized nations in reducing smoking. The bad news is that our obesity epidemic is the worst in the world.

Quality. In a comparison with five other countries, the Commonwealth Fund ranked the United States first in providing the “right care” for a given condition as defined by standard clinical guidelines and gave it especially high marks for preventive care, like Pap smears and mammograms to detect early-stage cancers, and blood tests and cholesterol checks for hypertensive patients. But we scored poorly in coordinating the care of chronically ill patients, in protecting the safety of patients, and in meeting their needs and preferences, which drove our overall quality rating down to last place. American doctors and hospitals kill patients through surgical and medical mistakes more often than their counterparts in other industrialized nations.


Life and death. In a comparison of five countries, the United States had the best survival rate for breast cancer, second best for cervical cancer and childhood leukemia, worst for kidney transplants, and almost-worst for liver transplants and colorectal cancer. In an eight-country comparison, the United States ranked last in years of potential life lost to circulatory diseases, respiratory diseases and diabetes and had the second highest death rate from bronchitis, asthma and emphysema. Although several factors can affect these results, it seems likely that the quality of care delivered was a significant contributor.

Patient satisfaction. Despite the declarations of their political leaders, many Americans hold surprisingly negative views of their health care system. Polls in Europe and North America seven to nine years ago found that only 40 percent of Americans were satisfied with the nation’s health care system, placing us 14th out of 17 countries. In recent Commonwealth Fund surveys of five countries, American attitudes stand out as the most negative, with a third of the adults surveyed calling for rebuilding the entire system, compared with only 13 percent who feel that way in Britain and 14 percent in Canada.

That may be because Americans face higher out-of-pocket costs than citizens elsewhere, are less apt to have a long-term doctor, less able to see a doctor on the same day when sick, and less apt to get their questions answered or receive clear instructions from a doctor. On the other hand, Gallup polls in recent years have shown that three-quarters of the respondents in the United States, in Canada and in Britain rate their personal care as excellent or good, so it could be hard to motivate these people for the wholesale change sought by the disaffected.

Use of information technology. Shockingly, despite our vaunted prowess in computers, software and the Internet, much of our health care system is still operating in the dark ages of paper records and handwritten scrawls. American primary care doctors lag years behind doctors in other advanced nations in adopting electronic medical records or prescribing medications electronically. This makes it harder to coordinate care, spot errors and adhere to standard clinical guidelines.


Thursday, November 08, 2007, 10:23 PM

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As an Economist, I disagree with much of what the NY Times article implies. Universal health care coverage in other countries has resulted in more inefficient use of doctors' time. Individuals under universal care coverage do not take the same time to consider whether or not they should go to the doctor, resulting in many unnecessary visits to the doctor. The 45 million uninsured people is certainly a problem, but I strongly disagree that universal health coverage is the solution since it detracts from overall health care quality. We've seen that individuals from other countries who can afford to, come to the United States for health care much more so than individuals from the United States ever go to other countries for health care. That 45 million number also doesn't explain everything: there are the poor who simply can't afford insurance, the poor who are unaware of the government assistance they CAN get through Medicaid (a public health care program from the gov't to help the poor), and the individuals who purposely choose to not have health insurance (if you don't get sick very often at all, you may prefer to pay out of the pocket for the few times you ever go versus having insurance). Bush's comment that the poor can just go to the emergency room is a bad statement, though. A visit to the emergency room costs hospitals much more than a visit to the doctor, and often times poor people will visit the emergency room rather than the doctor because they have no insurance (and usually no set physician either) and by law, the United States cannot deny health care to someone who comes through the emergency room. These visits to the emergency room drive up hospital costs and ultimately the health insurance costs paid by individuals. I hardly think the United States Health care system is anywhere near perfect, but at the same time, I do think that it's better than other nations and I especially degree that the country lags in delivery "timely and effective care." What it lags perhaps is more universal coverage. It's easy to look at the number 45 million and think that the US must be doing something wrong for there to be that many people uninsured, but the health care system works better from a social planner point of view if we stick to the private health insurance industry (even accepting Medicare/Medicaid).

Thursday, November 08, 2007, 10:37 PM

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That may be true, but just like most statistics, this is taken out of context. For example, since you stated that the hospitals clam up and don't acknowledge the mistake then this statistic is probably taken from all deaths during surgery. There are many other reasons besides physician error for death while on the table; like reaction to anesthesia, an overweight patient with a difficult airway or weakened heart, and not knowing the full details of the condition until once the patient is open. While I agree that doctors do make errors, I must also remind you that it is a practice and technology has yet to reach the point when physicians know exactly what to expect. To add to this, if you google the information regarding the drug interactions it is typically the patient NOT informing the doctor of the other medications or herbs/vitamins they are taking.

As far as hospital contracted infections, I am happy to be living in the US where we have clean hospitals and in some cases higher standards to prevent the spread of infections. While everyone has their own opinions, this is how I feel and I back it up with the services I've seen during my dad's many many stays in the hospital.

Thursday, November 08, 2007, 10:37 PM

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KNOWLEDGE IS POWER - US Hospitals are NOT CLEAN!

As far as hospital contracted infections, I am happy to be living in the US where we have clean hospitals and in some cases higher standards to prevent the spread of infections. While everyone has their own opinions, this is how I feel and I back it up with the services I've seen during my dad's many many stays in the hospital.

Thursday, November 08, 2007, 10:37 PM

Want to stop superbugs? Clean up hospitals: study

http://www.reuters.com/article/topNews/idUSN3020534420071030?feedType=RSS&feedName=topNews

By Maggie Fox, Health and Science Editor

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Hospitals seeking to keep patients from picking up infections should focus as much on cleaning up invisible germs as on removing the visible dirt, a British doctor argued on Tuesday.

Clean hands can only go so far in protecting patients from infection if doorknobs, bed rails and even sheets are covered with bacteria and viruses, Dr. Stephanie Dancer of South General Hospital in Glasgow writes in the journal Lancet Infectious Diseases.

But other infection experts differed on whether clean equipment and telephones affect a patient's biggest risk of acquiring a "superbug" such as methicillin resistant Staphylococcus aureus, or MRSA.

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimates that people get an infection while in a hospital, nursing home or other health-care facility 1.7 million times each year and that 99,000 people die from them.

Earlier this month, a report in the Journal of the American Medical Association showed that MRSA killed an estimated 19,000 Americans in 2005 and that 85 percent of them were infected in hospitals.

Experts in infectious disease are constantly urging doctors, nurses and other hospital staff to wash their hands frequently and yet infections continue to spread.

"... even if everyone does wash their hands properly, the effects of exemplary hand hygiene are eroded if the environment is heavily contaminated by MRSA," Dancer wrote "Given the propensity for people to pick, touch, or blow their noses, it is not surprising that carriers will often harbor their own strain of S. aureus on their fingers, which they will then transfer to any site accessible to their hands," she said.

Bacteria such as S. aureus and viruses such as the noroviruses that cause diarrhea can live on plastic or metal surfaces for days, Dancer said.

"The evidence for S. aureus and MRSA contamination of a huge variety of items in hospitals is overwhelming. Objects such as computer keyboards, door handles, tourniquets, pens, television sets, stethoscopes, telephones, beds and bedside tables, equipment packaging, paper and patient's notes, and toys are just a few examples," she wrote.

Dr. William Schaffner, of the Vanderbilt University School of Medicine and vice president of the National Foundation for Infectious Diseases, disagreed. "These inanimate surfaces are not likely to be a mode of transmission," he said in a telephone interview.

"It's close patient contact by the hands of health-care workers that go from one patient, get contaminated and go to another," he said. "Even in grubby hospital rooms -- it looks gross but it's not where the staph come from."

But Dancer's argument rang true to Dr. Ed Septimus of Methodist Hospital system in Houston, who is on the board of directors of the Infectious Diseases Society of America.

He said hospitals do not routinely clean surfaces in patient rooms except between patients, even though those surfaces could easily harbor bacteria.

"If it's on my clothes, then I could touch my clothes and then touch the patient," Septimus said in a telephone interview.

He suggested training cleaning staff better so that they do more than empty trash and clean the toilet.




Friday, November 09, 2007, 12:23 PM

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Go to the link so you can see the information was from reliable/verifiable sources!



As an Economist, I disagree with much of what the NY Times article implies. Universal health care coverage in other countries has resulted in more inefficient use of doctors' time. Individuals under universal care coverage do not take the same time to consider whether or not they should go to the doctor, resulting in many unnecessary visits to the doctor


See the subject line. The information was excellent information, I personally read "To Err is Human" so I know the information in the article was valid. I am only trying to help so we can make positive changes.

Friday, November 09, 2007, 12:26 PM

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OK so if you think the hospitals and doctors are so bad then don't go already!!

Or go to another country when you get sick for treatment. But some of us appreciate what we have.

I personally have had family members and loved ones whose lives were saved right here in the US in "filthy hospitals by ignorant doctors with huge egos"

Friday, November 09, 2007, 12:54 PM

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I am only trying to help so we can make positive changes!!!

OK so if you think the hospitals and doctors are so bad then don't go already!!

Or go to another country when you get sick for treatment. But some of us appreciate what we have.

I personally have had family members and loved ones whose lives were saved right here in the US in "filthy hospitals by ignorant doctors with huge egos"

Friday, November 09, 2007, 12:54 PM

I guess you NEVER READ the part where the need for POSITIVE CHANGES is greater. WOW!! We SEE what we want to SEE.

Friday, November 09, 2007, 1:00 PM

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Calm down, y'all. Improving healthcare is not a zero-sum game. You don't lose if someone else gains.

What we need to be doing is looking at ways to improve healthcare for everyone. If you like things the way they are, great. stay with your plan. But wouldn't it be nice if there was an alternative for those who aren't happy with the system, or for those who the current system would prefer to avoid?

America is a great country, and we are a smart people. If we all work together, we can come up with a system that will be the envy of the world. Or, we can keep fighting over the crumbling remains of our system until nothing is left.

Friday, November 09, 2007, 3:27 PM

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12:54 said:
"OK so if you think the hospitals and doctors are so bad then don't go already!! "

This is a no-win situation, and to pose it that way denies the hope of any real change. In other words, you're saying that you're happy with the system, and if someone else isn't, then they can go find a better one and leave yours alone. That would be great if we were talking about movies or restaurants, not health care systems. A health care system needs to take into account all of its users, not just some. And for those that it doesn't help enough, it needs to change to improve.

So to tell someone to go find someone better when they already can't afford the care they need (so how can they possibly afford to travel out of country to find something better?) is ridiculous and pointless. To search for change is the real key here.

Friday, November 09, 2007, 4:12 PM

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I love You - Why - The goal is for all USA to have a healthcare system that is effective as well as efficient and most of all clean.

America is a great country, and we are a smart people. If we all work together, we can come up with a system that will be the envy of the world. Or, we can keep fighting over the crumbling remains of our system until nothing is left.

Friday, November 09, 2007, 3:27 PM

So to tell someone to go find someone better when they already can't afford the care they need (so how can they possibly afford to travel out of country to find something better?) is ridiculous and pointless. To search for change is the real key here.

Friday, November 09, 2007, 4:12 PM




Friday, November 09, 2007, 4:34 PM

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You can whine all you want about the US healthcare system....of course it's flawed. So is every other health care system. I'm EXTREMELY interested to hear what you propose is a SOLUTION. It's easy to say "I don't like this, so fix it." Economists, Policy Makers, etc. have more to consider such as...well feasibility?? Each country is unique in its demographics, its SIZE, and it government. So until one of you whiners tells me a reasonable "solution" to "fixing" the "flawed health care system" given the characteristics of the United States, I suggest you do some actual research rather than reading random news articles.

Because we aaaaaaalllll know that everything in the media is true true true *rolling eyes*

Friday, November 09, 2007, 5:05 PM

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PP, this is how change comes about: people discuss openly and toss ideas around. We don't just sit in boxes and think how to solve solutions by ourselves.

Friday, November 09, 2007, 5:25 PM

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No, change comes from action, not sitting around and whining like a bunch of elementary school kids who don't get their way. Like I said, it's easy to point out something's broken. It's much more difficult (and more useful) to figure out if it's possible to fix it and if so, how. Because in doing so, you might come to realize that while the system is flawed, it is the best feasible system that we can have. Are none of you engineers or anything? I would respect more if someone actually gave some feasible arguments like "we could switch to ____ which could be funded by _____ and changing _____. this would result in _____ and therefore be better than what we have."

no one has even offered the bare skeleton of a feasible solution. if I wanted to hear just complaints, i'd talk to my teenage kid.

Friday, November 09, 2007, 5:32 PM

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5:05- OK, one solution would be for the government- could be at the state level, could be at the national level- to create an insurance pool- just like the one you're in at work, but much much larger. A statewide pool of 300,000 to 400,000 people would create a sizable profit for the insurance company that took it, but only on the condition that they accept everyone, no exceptions. A pool of that size would make their risk pretty minimal.

A larger pool means better negotiation for prices and availability.Charge a sliding scale rate so that people like me who make decent money help to fund those who make less, or nothing- from each according to their means.

Make different levels of insurance available, again priced on a sliding scale. Really excellent coverage should cost more than budget coverage, but it should also be available to everyone.

So, if you are making $100,000 a year, the range of costs might be between 100 and 500 dollars a month- roughly equal to what my employer pays for my health care program now. But, If you make only $20,000 a year, the same coverage would be available, but at a lower cost- say, between 20 and 100 dollars a month.

That's my idea for making the system work better. It doesn't require a whole lot of change in the systems we've already got, and if you don't like it, you don't have to use it. But, in theory, you could provide coverage equal to the best plans available, but for a more reasonable cost and with no chance of being rejected.

so there. Nyah. ;)



Friday, November 09, 2007, 5:44 PM

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5:05 here,

Thank goodness for a sane, intelligent argument finally. Yes, pooling is a possible solution. State-wide pooling for small business has been attempted before as a potential change to the health care system. So far, it has not worked since they were unable to get enough enrollees to deal with the problems of adverse selection. Also you need a large number of enrollees to spread the administrative costs. But state-wide pooling is an option that is being explored right now.

I tip my hat to you for presenting a feasible and good solution.

Friday, November 09, 2007, 6:39 PM

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So should groceries and clothes and everything else in the US be priced in a "sliding scale"? Is that really fair? So fresh fruits at the store should be $1.00 for one person and $3.00 for someone else because that person earns more money? I know it isn't the same but isn't that the idea? How does that encourage anyone to work hard for what they have when they could work less and have the same things for less money?
They shouldn't and that's why America is still the way it is. Do your research people, the US is the longest standing government in history. Socialistic health care won't be around forever, it just doesn't work. History proves it.

Friday, November 09, 2007, 7:00 PM

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Longest standing government how?

Friday, November 09, 2007, 7:03 PM

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7:00. yes, it's called food stamps and welfare. It's the government helping someone out by giving them the cash they need to buy food and housing.

How does it encourage someone to work hard? since when is insurance the only thing people care about? when was the last time you heard someone say "well, I got my good insurance, I guess I don't need anything else"? People work hard to get a better house, a nicer car, a better life for their kids. Making sure they have affordable health care simply helps them achieve this goal. That's not socialism, that's just common sense.

And, it's been said over and over again, but it bears repeating- our country already has a TON of "socialized" systems- police. Fire department. Garbage. Libraries. Schools. Most of which work pretty well and show no signs of turning americans into rabid euro-socialists just waiting to suck off big government's teat.

As for your longest standing government statement, perhaps the longest running democracy, but there are other governments that have gone on far longer than our 230 years.

Friday, November 09, 2007, 11:30 PM

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a thought from a pre-med student to be:

ever think that the medical system in the US is so high on the "killing" because, in fact, it has succeeded in LOWERING all the other numbers around it?

the general amount of mistates due to probability and human error is going to stay relatively steadfast, ESPECIALLY as more complicated techniques come about.

how many people used to die from heart surgeries 400 years ago? 0. But,a lot more people died of heart disease, cholesterol, heart attacks, etc.

the only reason the number is so high is because it is RELATIVE to all the numbers that have successfully been lowered throughout the years.

Sunday, November 11, 2007, 10:41 AM

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Good point!

And I goota say, when the @$%# hits the fan, I know the doctors are going to do everything in their power to save me.

good luck, doc-to-be!

Sunday, November 11, 2007, 11:24 AM

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The NY times, Michael Moore? Please these are extreme liberal ports of media that are totally biased. Michael Moore only ever tells one side and how he sees it. Granted he does put on a good show, if you truly look at his movies they are completely one sided. Ny times? Please I can't even go there, as with most of our media they are one sided and totally liberal. I have lived in the UK, Canada and Europe, granted they haven't been extremely long stays I can say I had the pleasure of experiencing the health care over there. Surprise, surprise, even they make mistakes. In Canada I had to wait almost a month to get back test results I got back in the US in a week. I also had to wait for an MRI for almost 4 months. Here in the states I can schedule an appt a week out, sometimes in a few days. In the UK I had to see 5 different doctors before they came up with an explanation for my illness. Europe everything just took a long time but was very much like the care I receive here.

You people should stop all your bitching and move to another country. If you don't like it here leave, its that simple. You people are Americans, act like it, support your country, if you see something you don't like learn about it, give well informed decisions with facts to back it up. Don't like the government, get out there and vote, still only 68% of people here vote and all of them don't even bother to do that. Want to take charge of your health, get fit, eat right, exercise and take care of yourself. And maybe that way you can avoid all these doctors you can't stand. Or maybe, just maybe, a lot of you haven't found the right doctor who really does take the time and listen, who works with you, instead you bitch about them and don't bother to continue to look for one that you do like.

My point to all this is that I am guessing at least 95% of you who are bitching and complaining about the health care in this country have never experienced in any other country.

Sunday, November 11, 2007, 12:39 PM

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Quote:
"Someone who can't diagnose him or herself or provide the medical care that doctors do is not ignorant. But someone who presumes to know about being a doctor, about doctors "lining their pockets with FDA and HMO money" and caring only about profit, and about my ability to handle being a doctor IS ignorant. And arrogant at that. Just as someone who can't fix an engine shouldn't be called ignorant, but someone who doesn't know how to fix their car and then goes in to scream at the mechanic that they "must" be cheating them since their car is not working again -- I'd consider that person ignorant. And that's not even a great analogy since it's not the same as trying to diagnose a patient.

I am a neurologist.

Thursday, November 08, 2007, 4:54 PM "


Thank you for proving my point! When my doctor misdiagnosed my daughter and myself for years, the ADMINISTRATOR of the clinic and the DOCTOR both said to me "if you take your car to a mechanic and the mechanic fixes the tick and something else goes wrong with the car, it's not the mechanics fault!"
And yet their the ones using that analogy with me! The mechanic in this case (the doc) didn't even fix the damn ticks!

I've lost all faith in the health care system because of 15 doctors who NEVER suggested ONE simple blood test for my daughter. We could have saved years worth of frustration becuase of a constant barky cough that would pull her out from school and keep her up at night, THOUSANDS of dollars, and most importantly, hundreds of scars on her body from breaking out due to food allergies. When all of these doctors prescribed medicines and creams to cover up the problem rather than trying to figure out what was causing it, that's fda and hmo money right there. If they had cured the problem, they wouldn't get any more of our money, would they? And the drug company wouldn't get our money either, would they? Tell me, doctors, why write prescriptions to mask issues like heart burn, cough, skin breakouts, headaches? There are reasons are body acts like that, doesn't your heart tell you to find out why rather than a quick fix? I know my osteopath sure seems to think so. He's the one who diagnosed both of us. And here's the kicker--OUR APPOINTMENTS WERE FREE! And we don't need medication to feel better. This subject is very personal to me because of my daughter's condition. Until someone can show me a doctor who doesn't think patients are ignorant and doesn't line their pockets, I will continue my family's care with an osteopath.

Monday, November 12, 2007, 11:19 AM

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11.19 - I feel sorry for both yourself and your daughter, what happened was something that shouldn've.

However, please understand, doctors are humans just like you with 4+ years more schooling. And based on that schooling, they have to make extremely crucial decisions. Did you get 100 on every test you ever took in school? Now imagine that basically every moment of your career for the rest of your life was one pass/fail test after another.

Doctors feel HORRIBLY when they misdiagnose a patient, or when they miss something. But they can't dwell on the mistake, because the truth of the matter is, (for 99.9%) that for everyone 1 mistake that costed a patient, there's hundreds of other patients they were able to help.

Monday, November 12, 2007, 11:41 AM

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11:41-I understand docs misdiagnose, but my point and question is this: why should it be at the expense of patients? When are they going to be held accountable like every other profession?

Monday, November 12, 2007, 12:33 PM

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Who says they aren't held accountable? They just aren't accountable to you.



Monday, November 12, 2007, 1:02 PM

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Until someone can show me a doctor who doesn't think patients are ignorant and doesn't line their pockets, I will continue my family's care with an osteopath.

Um, Doctors of Osteopathic Medicine (D.O.'s) are doctors, too. Specifically, they are physicians, every bit as much as M.D.'s are, although the emphasis in D.O. programs is more likely to be general (They produce more family medicine practitioners and fewer neurosurgeons.) , and osteopaths learn OMM _ in addition to_ all the traditional material.

D.O.'s can be as good or as bad as M.D.'s. Last week I had an appointment with a D.O. who could not WAIT to get out of the exam room with me, did not read my history sheet or ask about very pertinant parts of my medical history, etc. It's not the degree that counts, it's how the practice is run. If a physician is scheduled to see 2 patients every 15 minutes, the odds are that no patient is getting adequate medical care.

Monday, November 12, 2007, 1:17 PM

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11.41 again

No, you don't seem to understand that sometimes docs misdiagnose, because you want to punish them for it.

It's at the expense of the patient because of the hands on characteristic of the work. There is no 'chain'. A mistake is a mistake for the patient. End of story.

Doctors also pay large sums of money years to malpractice insurance, whether they make mistakes or not, so that just in case they do, at least the insurance companies will give SOMETHING back as an "I'm sorry".

I realize "I'm sorry" doesn't do a lot in the long run, but sometimes that's all they CAN do. No one can go back and change time.

Monday, November 12, 2007, 1:30 PM

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Statistics say otherwise!

Doctors feel HORRIBLY when they misdiagnose a patient, or when they miss something. But they can't dwell on the mistake, because the truth of the matter is, (for 99.9%) that for everyone 1 mistake that costed a patient, there's hundreds of other patients they were able to help.

Monday, November 12, 2007, 11:41 AM

I truly believe your statistics are off. These physicians need to stop being so careless with people's lives. They are so far removed from genuine human compassion. They see their patient's in the office like an assembly line. They barely look you in the eye. They either want to pump you full of deadly medications or cut something off of you. And get this because they negotiated a deal with the managed care company, they will now shoot botulism between your eyes to delay wrinkles to make up for the money they lost to the managed care company. And if you want Restylane to put collagen back in your lips or cheeks, you can get that too. Oh! you don't like your breast size, come on in I will increase or decrease them. Just bring cash or credit card. Come in at lunch time.

Your analogy was awful, if you fail a test written or oral, that will not cause someone to possibly lose their life or be maimed for the rest of their life. Kanye West's mother is yet another medical error. A real oops! did I forget to check to see if this woman was taken any blood thinning medications or did I check to see if her heart could take this procedure or better yet, does she have a condition that I need to address before I perform an unnecessary surgery on her. Well her son is a multimillionaire, who would turn that down. And yes a physician did say no, I need to know more about your medical history. Give this doctor a STAR. We need more like him. When do we address the medical errors, REDUCE THEM and stop making excuses.

Tuesday, November 13, 2007, 12:19 AM

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