June 14, 2013

If you’re wondering whether it makes any difference for patients to share their stories, check out this blog by Dr. David Mayer, where he shares some reflections after reading “Collateral Damage,” a book by one of our group members, Dan Walter

Mayer, the vice president of quality and safety for MedStar Health, writes that he was particularly struck by the way Walter explained the difference between an “accomplice” and a “witness,” in terms of health care providers who are aware of patient harm taking place. A witness is someone who sees something wrong and reports it. The same is not true for an accomplice. “(Walter) raises the question that if we as caregivers witness something wrong and don’t report it, aren’t we really accomplices to the wrong when we turn our back and walk away?”

As he read the book, Mayer, who is an anesthesiologist, said that it made him wonder if he had been an accomplice to wrongdoing.

Mayer’s blog clearly shows that sharing patient stories matters, so maybe the best question is what are the best ways for patients to tell their stories? Are some approaches more effective than others? What have you seen that works, and what have you seen that does not work?

Marshall Allen

Excerpt on Kevin MD

May 28, 2013

An excerpt from “Collateral Damage: A Patient, a New Procedure and the Learning Curve” has just been published on KevinMD:


May 5, 2013

Then there is the real world, one populated with other medical specialties, and those daring enough to ask, “What, exactly, are you ablating?” As it turns out, not all doctors think so highly of the notion of ablating a disease that we do not fully understand.

Dr Rita Redberg, influential cardiologist and editor of the JAMA Internal Medicine “Less is More” series, said this about ablating AF:

“Because ablation has never been studied in a randomized blinded fashion, we cannot know whether patients experience fewer symptoms after ablation because subjective symptoms frequently decrease following a procedure or whether the ablation itself was beneficial.

Furthermore, the clinical benefit on survival and morbidity of this invasive procedure, which has substantial procedural risks, remains to be established.”


   – Dr. John Mandrola