A Tragic Hospital Story; and a Book Everyone Should Read

Top Screwups Doctors Make and How to Avoid Them by Joe and Teresa Graedon, authors of “The People’s Pharmacy” syndicated column, is a book everyone who would like to survive a possible hospital stay should read. The impetus for this book was the tragic death of Joe’s mother 92-year old mother after a hospital resident gave her Demerol despite a warning in her chart to avoid narcotics. Joe Graedon is a retired pharmacologist and his wife is a medical anthropologist.

Their book includes a very helpful list of ten ways to prevent medical errors as well as many other examples of possible life saving advice in encounters with the medical establishment.

A second very helpful book that should be on every patient’s shelf is How Doctors Think by Jerome Groopman, M.D. According to the book descripton on Amazon.com:

“How Doctors Think is a window into the mind of the physician and an insightful examination of the all-important relationship between doctors and their patients. In this myth-shattering work, Jerome Groopman explores the forces and thought processes behind the decisions doctors make. He pinpints why doctors succeed and why they err. Most important, Groopman shows when and how doctors can — with our help — avoid snap judgments, embrace uncertainty, communicate effectively, and deploy other skills that can profoundly impact our health.”