In 1999, the Institute of Medicine, an agency of the U.S. government, issued a report called "To Err is Human." The conclusion was that medical errors and misdiagnoses are responsible for the deaths of 44,000 to 99,000 Americans each year.
Those numbers are equivalent to the crash of a jumbo jet each day of the year -- none with survivors. Most experts agree that the number of deaths in 1999 pales in comparison with today's real numbers. The report is expected to be updated in 2009.
For each of those deaths caused by the medical system that is expected to save patients not kill them, there is a story. Fatal Care highlights the stories of 13 individuals who were harmed or died from a medical error. These stories are told in a narrative fashion, describing not simply the facts, but the emotions and the outcomes. Readers will be moved and angered by each story. Several of them involve healthy children who died at the hands of the system that failed them.
The lessons to be learned from each of these stories is what compelled the author, Dr. Sanjaya Kumar, to write Fatal Care. With this book, his intention is to empower both patients and professionals by analyzing how each error occurred, what could have prevented it and what patients can do to protect themselves from such an error happening to them. He accomplishes this and more. The book is very readable, understandable, emotional and compelling. My own misdiagnosis story is in the book.
Here are the people and errors you will learn about when you read Fatal Care:
- Never Routine, the story of Lewis Blackman, age 13, and Failure to Rescue
- Reading Between the Lines, the misdiagnosis story of (yours truly) Trisha Torrey
- Critically Wounded, the bloodstream infection acquired by Diana Brookins
- Picking Up the Pieces, the story of Diane Ford and a PCA pump failure
- The Promise, a delay in treatment caused the death of Taylor McCormack, age 14 months
- Coming Together, medically induced trauma suffered by Linda Kenney
- One of the Their Own, Liz Augusta's (almost) lost pregnancy
- They're Not Listening, Ken Simon's wrong diagnosis
- The Price of Doing Business, the loss of Johanna Daly to a surgical site infection
- Wrong Turn, surgery on the wrong side of Benjamin Houghton
- Three Little Angels, heparin overdoses killed three babies in an Indiana hospital
Each chapter ends with the lessons learned and the ways patients, parents and caregivers can protect themselves.
Fatal Care will alarm and incite you to learn everything you can about keeping yourself safe in the healthcare environment.
Details about Fatal Care, by Sanjaya Kumar, MD:
- Publisher: IGI Press
- ISBN: 978-0977712113
- Year Published: 2008
- Hardover Price: $25.95
- Softcover Price N/A
- Book Details: 289 pages