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Don’t get sick. September 23, 2012

Posted by ourfriendben in wit and wisdom.
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You never know what you’re going to discover in the paper. That’s why our friend Ben enjoys reading our local paper, the Allentown, PA Morning Call, and for national coverage, The Wall Street Journal. But sometimes the news is both startling and horrific, as in this weekend’s edition of The Wall Street Journal, which featured an article with the bold and attention-grabbing headline “How to Stop Hospitals from Killing Us.”  

Yikes. The article pointed out that 25% of patients were actually harmed during their hospital stays, that 98,000 people died in hospitals every year through medical errors, that each month, enough people died from hospital malpractice to fill four jumbo jets. And that’s just in the U.S. (Head over to www.wsj.com to read the article in its entirety.)

Our friend Ben understands that hospitals are, at heart, corporations, and that like all corporations, they drive their employees too hard, give them impossible schedules, wear them out. When corporations are run like this, by the modern business model, mistakes happen, mistakes are inevitable, because people are people and simply can’t do what the modern business model is asking of them: more and more in less and less time. So I’m not trying to blame the hospital employees for this horrific body count.

Instead, since I doubt that we as individuals can revise the prevailing business model into something that’s actually humane and doable, I suggest that we do everything possible to stay or get healthy and keep out of the hospital. Let’s try not to become a statistic of our delightful system’s effort to continually do more and more with less and less. Those poor, overworked doctors and nurses! Let’s reach out to them in fellow feeling, knowing how desperately overworked and overburdened we all are in our own jobs, and not blame them for this nightmare. The blame lies squarely on the business model of corporate America: too few employees, too much pressure. Shame, shame, shame on them!!!



1. William - September 23, 2012

Being quite familiar with the medical field and manufacturing, the article doesn’t tell the whole story, but there is some truth to it. Errors are just as common in industry except the results are not always deadly.
Medicine is very expensive, and when you have the best equipment the cost soars. The next issue is the lack of medical personnel. We do have a shortage with doctors and nurses. There is an abundance of management. When hospitals cut costs, somehow it does not transfer upwards. We have plenty of overhead in hospitals, just as we do in the manufacturing industry.
All of this reduces the effectiveness in medical care. You are correct that we should not try to stay healthy but be healthy. Not only should we exercise but also maintain a form of weight training. You can be thin and less fit than an overweight individual.

I agree, William! We need more personnel who are trained and in hospitals; I feel that this is the answer to the problem. And I also agree that blaming every ill of society on overweight is ludicrous and stupid. Numerous studies have shown that being overweight does NOT reduce life expectancy and etc. It’s just such an easy target.

2. narf77 - September 23, 2012

My sister works in the medical confraturnity (a vampire in the blood department) and is considerably overworked. I saw an ad on the television the other day about people working in the E.R. in Kings Cross Sydney and you couldn’t pay me millions to do what those poor people have to do! I agree with you…physician heal thyself is my creed. Doctors are just people…albeit well educated people and prone to every single human flaw that the rest of us are. We put our faith in the medical confraturnity without question and we are all aware of how rife the pharmaceutical companies and doctor relationships with neopotistic results occur. The only answer is stay healthy. Eat well, exercise, look after yourself. Try not to shovel drugs into your body and find out natural ways to cure your ills. Understand that sypmtoms are not something that needs to be eliminated but are warning signs that need to be heeded! We keep blindly putting our trust in “the system” and “the machine” and “big business” at our ever increasing loss. When will we learn that big business and the modern business model is not aimed at humanity but profit at all costs? Another great post and cheers for giving this most important issue a look-see. Don’t blame the messengers people, its the corporation heads that you should be shooting!

Thanks Fran, so true!

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