We experienced touching stories about medical errors and were shocked by the hubris, deceit, and arrogance of the highlighted physicians. We rationalized that these people were “bad” doctors and comfortably told ourselves that we would not end up like that. We assume that doctors that make blatant errors and cause harm can’t possibly be good doctors. But how do we rationalize when the “best of the best” does it?
Waking up blind – Lawsuits Over Eye Surgery by Tom Harbin MD is a phenomenal account of one of the darkest events in ophthalmology.
It recounts the tragedies caused by the Chairman of Ophthalmology at Emory University, one of the most powerful and esteemed professors in ophthalmic academia at the time. The story reads like a medical thriller and describes how an eminent eye surgeon blinded several patients.
The lessons in this book may further the… Continue reading
There was no shortage of passion for quality and safety at Telluride. It is always the crazy fools who think they can change the world that do.
However, throughout the lectures, discussions, and conversations, I can’t stop thinking about Temple Grandin – an autistic animal scientist that revolutionized how animal behavior is viewed in the livestock industry. She changed the handling of livestock to be more humane/respectful, safe, and effective.
Why should you care about Temple Grandin? It appears to me that she faced many similar challenges: entrenched culture with a resistant old guard. The story is timeless – arrogant and ignorant cowboys KNOW how to handle livestock and how dare this geek tell us how to do our job. But Grandin succeeds by being relentless in her research. Nothing promotes action like data and cost savings. She demonstrated that her approach was not only more ethical, but led to… Continue reading
I thought I knew why I came to Telluride. I was a MD/MHA dual-degree student and had some experience in the domains of quality and safety. I have followed the work of Gawande, Pronovost, and the like. I knew about checklists and what hospitals can learn from the aviation and hotel industry. I thought I came to meet the “big apostles” of quality and safety so I could hear their gospels. I thought wrong. I came to have the difficult conversations and to have a chance to be less wrong. That wasn’t the first time I was wrong on this trip. I held a false-assumption about the value of pre-clinical students at such a meeting. I remember being like them – bright eyed, limitless enthusiasm, and a burning desire to do good and change the world. But the reality and context of clinical medicine taught me valuable lessons about dealing… Continue reading