From Publishers Weekly
With at least 100,000 hospital patients dying each year, associate professor and practicing internist Klein (From Anecdote to Antidote) calls medical malpractice in the U.S. a "pandemic," with mortality numbers comparable to "smoking, auto accidents, and pollution," placing the U.S. behind most of Europe, "including Poland and the Czech Republic." While Klein supports universal healthcare modeled on Medicare, he asserts that we'll need more: "substandard or negligent care have been swept under the rug" by the medical profession for too long. As such, he insists that the medical profession needs "medical courts governed by specialists in medical ethics and respected physicians" to analyze mistakes and discipline offenders. Further, patients and their families must be empowered to become part of the "treating team," researching their own symptoms whenever possible and demanding proper screening, blood work, and second opinions. Klein offers anecdotes and examples from his own career with internal and infectious medicine, as well as his experience as an expert witness in malpractice litigation, in this useful, though somewhat diffuse, resource.
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Klein is a practicing physician who has often testified as an expert witness in cases alleging medical malpractice. From his two perspectives, he offers an insightful look at all the things that can—and often do—go wrong in medicine, from doctors inducing infection to mix-ups in patient records and prescriptions. As Klein describes it, it’s a wonder any of us makes it out of the doctor’s office or hospital alive and well. Citing examples from his practice and several cases, he explores the weaknesses in medicine, from doctor’s visits to hospital stays to treatments for major illnesses such as cancer. He offers harrowing stories of patients misdiagnosed for cancer, patients being given the wrong medication, and deaths caused by errors made by doctors who later changed medical records. His prescription: patients should be strong advocates for themselves, ask questions, do research, keep copies of test results, get second opinions, and maintain good health through exercise and nutrition and advocacy for physician’s report cards and online record keeping. A very valuable resource, particularly as the nation considers overhauling the health-care system. --Vanessa Bush
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