Friday, September 14, 2007

Consciousness Raising Exercise #23

A series of articles by Steve Twedt in the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette explored the systematic coverup of medication errors within the healthcare industry. Mr. Twedt's investigative reporting revealed that each year 150,000 Americans -- more than the total number of people who die from homicide, suicide, motor vehicle accidents and AIDS combined-- die from medical negligence.
In 1974, when I first started transcribing, I was quickly informed about the dreadful mistake made by an orthopedic surgeon at the hospital where I was employed. As he was preparing to operate on a patient's right knee, he was interrupted by the operating room nurse who said "No, Dr. J. It's the left knee that's supposed to have surgery."
The doctor flew into a rage, screaming "Just who the hell do you think is in charge here? I'm the surgeon and don't you ever forget it!" He then proceeded to operate on the wrong knee.
In 1995, the media was filled with similar stories. In one situation, a surgeon amputated the wrong leg off a patient. In another story, it was the wrong breast.
In 150 words or less, explain how careless errors made while dictating a report could result in such tragedies. Include in your essayan explanation of the popular French saying:

"Plus ca change, plus c'est la meme chose."

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