Dr. Marty Makary wants patients to push for change in the way doctors do their jobs to increase patient safety and points to faults in current medical culture.

Libby Lewis | CNN | September 20, 2012

At Donahoe Kearney, we continue to warn patients about the current epidemic in the health care industry: preventable medical errors. We constantly hear stories about medical care providers harming patients more through negligence. With Dr. Makary’s writings we were happy to discover that some doctors are aware of this problem too, and trying to do something about it.

We recently posted an article by Makary outlining what hospitals and doctors can do to reform this culture of silence – in his new book, “Unaccountable: What Hospitals Won’t Tell you and how Transparency Can Revolutionize Health Care,” Makary addresses readers, telling them what they can do as consumers to promote change and increase patient safety.

Makary warns readers about:

  • Dangerous doctors, who are allowed to continue practicing because of a code of silence among their colleagues.
  • “Fred Flintstone doctors,” who are woefully behind the times in their skills, but won’t tell you.
  • Profit-hungry doctors and hospitals, who take “sales commissions” from drug and medical device companies for using a certain drug, or implanting a certain device in patients.

These types of health care providers contribute to the startling statistics of preventable medical errors; one of every four patients who are hospitalized is harmed by a medical error, CNN reports.

According to Makary, patients can do their part to change this culture by pushing for change in the way doctors and hospitals do their jobs.

Patients can achieve this by becoming smart consumers of health care. By doing research similar to the way they would before making a big purchase such as a home or car.

Markary gives some tips on how to become a sharp consumer of health care:

  • To find out if a doctor is good or not, ask hospital employees
  • Use the internet to learn what you can do about your condition, and your options. Helpful websites include, PubMed.gov; HospitalCompare.com; and Vitals.com
  • When a doctor suggests surgery, ask questions: What happens if I can’t do this? What other options do I have? What are the risks and the benefits?
  • Get a second opinion.

Hopefully Markary’s book encourages patients to beware of these dangerous doctors, but also forces doctors and other health care providers to take a good hard look at themselves to recognize that they need to change their behavior to prioritize patient safety.

To read the full CNN article, visit CNN.com

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