“Collateral Damage is a stark reminder of the human side of what may often be seen as statistics, hidden behind words such as “adverse patient outcome.” The book presents, in its clearest form, the
suffering of those left damaged by medical complications. It makes for compelling reading for ethicists, lawyers, and patients.” – Journal of Bioethical Inquiry November 2014

“Author Dan Walter offers a unique education from the patient family perspective about the damage that corporate greed does to healthcare in general, and the doctor-patient relationship in particular. (He) fills in the care gaps and provides a picture of continuum of care that is often missing when the patient perspective is not considered. Trainees and providers alike have much to gain from Collateral Damage to become leaders in promoting patient-centered care. Patients and other nonproviders in the community also have much to gain from Walter’s quest to educate all about navigating the healthcare system on behalf of his wife.”  – Journal of the Student National Medical Association 2014

“I ordered it and got through half of it in a couple of hours. It is a book that can’t be put down. It’s a fast read, and it will have you gasping and disgusted by the healthcare system. It once again reinforces that big healthcare brands don’t mean that you will get the most expert care or humane treatment. I am amazed that this book hasn’t been more widespread: should be a must read for all medical students as part of their ethics courses.”  LinkedIn Review 5/20/2013

“Must read for everyone prior to surgery – patients AND doctors. Concise, well researched – you will learn the questions you should ask prior to scheduling any procedure. A frightening summation of a family’s tragedy when treatment and ‘care’ are not the priority.”

“Five Stars. This book is an on-target indictment of  dangerous, unethical, and money-driven factions within our health care industry. Many ill patients receive quality care in America, but far too many are also victims of the dark heart that poisons American healthcare. Read it. It could save your life.”  – Patient Safety America

“Your book is a great read!! It touches a very delicate subject which is a wide- spread problem that most facilities choose to ignore. You have a charismatic writing style that captures the attention… ” cardiology links

“Blew me away…”

“I am on my SECOND reading of this book. And I will probably have to read it several times to have its sheer magnitude sink in.  It is truly astonishing.”

“It is indeed essential reading… ”

Collateral Damage is more than simply a book about statistics and afib and we need to be very clear on this. It is a book about big business, the drug and medical products business, teaching hospitals,  and much, much more… ”

“A searing, poignant and cautionary tale. This book has really shaken me. I urge everyone to read it… ”

“Thought provoking and very well written… ”

“Outstanding and a must read for anyone over 40 or anyone who is contemplating surgery. A real eye opener to say the very least. I am on my third reading…”

“It lays bare an example of the issue that lies at the base of our skyrocketing medical costs and our skyrocketing rates of medical harm.  I think it is a bombshell.”

“A gripping narrative… a good read…” — Brad Wright, Wright on Health

“I can tell you one thing for certain, it will give you background to be able to ask some very difficult questions with tact and diplomacy and it will most certainly motivate you to ask the questions that need to be asked…”

“A brilliant expose´ of the current role of industry in rapid technological advance and its need for profit from its efforts. Dan Walter highlights the uncomfortable relationship that industry now has with the medical profession… an eloquent indictment of the health care mess.”

— Brian Todd, Author, The Third Lion

Riveting…  A fascinating story, and a very important one… “


“It is, simply put, a must read for anyone who truly cares about patients. Pam’s experiences can fill a textbook in what NOT to do from both a medical and nursing standpoint. Thanks for being courageous enough to write about your experience …  As for me, I think that I have learned much by seeing this unique viewpoint.”

– Hypocafeinemia

“A great story,  a must read by all interventional cardiologists and electrophysiologists. This is a real life experience of  a patient who underwent a electrophysiology study and   ablation   procedure for atrial fibrillation. It describes how the procedure became a nightmare. Written in a  most  readable fashion. Interventional cardiologists need  not get hurt by this  narration  instead  they should  do a  reality check on the dangers  of  the some  of the  complex  procedures.”

– Dr. S. Venkatesan

I highly recommend this book. It is a well-written study of one person’s experience at the hands of the most exalted research hospital in our country. I am a medical malpractice defense attorney. I read Mr. Walter’s book because I wanted to hear a patient’s viewpoint… Mr. Walter brilliantly tells the story of how one of the foremost teaching/research hospitals in the country practiced on his wife without disclosing that they were doing so. I was riveted, and ultimately ashamed of what is an all too common practice.  I wish that all of the physicians at Johns Hopkins would read it, and realize that their patients are not research rats.”

— Customer Reviews

“This is a high-speed read. The torture this patient endured is vividly told not to mention the heartache – so beautifully described – of both. It is well researched and diligently narrated. As I read it, I can feel a number of emotions ranging from sadness, frustration, fear and then anger. I didn’t know whether to blow a big whistle or just cry. The voice is both clear and compassionate. I love this book.”

–Claire Stibbe, Author, Chasing Pharaohs

It is very difficult to adequately explain to patients the complexity of this procedure, the uncertainties regarding success and the myriad of complications that can occur. I will recommend this book to every patient considering this procedure from now on.”

“Please do not change your account to ease the feelings of those who consider it inflammatory. The situation deserves an emotional response.”

“Good Writing! Intriguing style.”

“I am a practicing cardiologistwho did electrophysiology training. Your story is honest, true and a very apt and telling description of a horror story.”

“I work at Hopkins and unfortunately have experienced a similar situation. Your voice is important. Thank you for publishing this. We need to look at ourselves and understand if we’re really performing as the BEST hospital. We have a long way to go. Your story needs to be heard by all. Continue publishing.”

“My knees and hands were trembling as I read the already published nine chapters.”

” … scared the *&#% out of me! I’ve had more bad experiences than good (involving Emergency care) not inpatient as your wife had. I realize how vulnerable we all are and pray that the person holding my heart (literally and figuratively) will treat me as that they would their own wife, mother, daughter or sister.”

“An eye opener and very sobering for those of us who perform such procedures.”

“You tell ’em Dan. I like your site. You tell it the way it is … “

“I think your story is perfect as published. It is truth, and truth is what all of us need to see, and act upon.”

“Thank you for taking the time to write this. You’ve performed a significant public service.”

“These words of tragedy help us, and I am grateful you wrote them.  They help us learn, and this makes us better, both as clinicians and as people.”

“Thanks for sharing this true account. I applaud the bravery of anyone who writes an expose’. The public should be aware of the corruption involved in the medical establishment despite how troubling the reality. Rated with six stars.”

–Walden Carrington,  Author Titanic: Rose Dawson’s Story

“As for Dan’s book, from my perspective it is not really about this particular procedure. What Dan has done is to expose the mechanisms of medical corruption, and particularly the corruption of medical research.  There has been a lot of excellent investigative work in the press about corruption, conflict of interest, and subversion of the medical literature.  Some of these stories are very specific, such at the Milwaukee Sentinel Journal on back surgery and other specific procedures and devices.  But I have not seen anyone do what Dan has done, with detailed research documents that use the doctors’ own words against them.  The value of Dan’s book is in the fact that it lays bare an example of the issues that fuel the skyrocketing rates of medical harm and the medical costs that go with it. I think it is a bombshell.  But people need to understand the significance of what he is saying.”

************** editing


Thank you for the forward Dan and thank you for writing on the profound but less obvious way that financial interests drive health care. The public has some concept of the greedy doctor, and can often recognize and protect themselves from them, but when doctors themselves don’t recognize the greed behind their decisions the public is most at risk. I believe this is be even more a problem with pharmaceuticals than with medical devices. I will put your book on my reading list.

LinkedIn 6/10/2013


‘Collateral Damage’ forces one to question whether that assumption is correct. It is surely a call for reflection and learning: what should the mission of any healthcare provider be? How is that mission agreed on by both providers and consumers? How are values propagated across stakeholders? Etc. Assuming that patient safety is indeed valued, we all need to learn from cases such as this.

Hi Dan,I finished your book this evening. I found it stunning, disturbing, but not altogether surprising. We have such a long way to go in medicine, but an even farther way to go in adhering to the principles of integrity, kindness, and justice. I am going to pass the book along to the PA who works in the EP lab at my hospital.I cried for Pam, a fellow nurse, for having gone through this, and then to suffer again in the court! I hope she is doing well… You are a wonderful author and an even more amazing husband. Thank you for sharing your story,
A man describing his ablation experience:
 “Read and learn, because it tells you that just becuase my experience was good, it does not mean it will be as easy or less difficult for you. Also it is advisable not to go to a university hospital, because rightly or wrongly, you would not want them to be learning on you. Besides, there is the famous story that anyone who has dealt with fibrillation will come upon:”

Louise E. (—
Date:   04-23-11 18:05

I read Dan’s book, a searing , poignant and cautionary tale. Although I remember Pam’s postings on the Forum from several years ago, this book has really shaken me. Not only was Pam’s health status permanently changed through multiple medical errors, but both she and Dan were again victimized in their efforts to seek justice. I urge everyone to read this account.


Author: Murray L. (—
Date:   04-29-11 08:21

1. I concur that reading this outstanding but poignant account of the Walters experiences should be made MANDATORY for anyone considering ablation procedure(s). It is indeed essential reading.

2. I am on my SECOND reading of this book. And I will probably have to read it several times to have its sheer magnitude sink in. I am a scientist (physics) and business management/IT ‘expert’ (well, it’s been a long time since Physics 101 but the scientist never leaves) and as such demand total understanding of the situation. It is truly astonishing.

3. Answering my own question; Kindle readers will actually read the book to you in voice quite well. I am just installing the Kindle reader for my IBM PC platform and it is also avaialable for most smartphone platforms at no charge (I can ‘read’ the book while otherwise occupied or in transit in the car).

This book is ‘smack on’…. and to whomever said they were sitting there and hearing their doc sound just like one of the characters in the book I can only concur with that as well. I am up for a change in cardiologist who considers me a piece of meat (I understand now) and is pushing me at a teaching hospital for reasons unknown (now I know) and a doctor that I have never heard of for reasons unknown (now I know).

Read the book.


“Collateral Damage” is more than simply a book about statistics and aFib and we need to be very clear on this.

It is also a book about big business, the drug and medical products business, teaching hospitals, ensuring one knows who is diddling inside their beating heart, spotaneous stupidity or, as with my barbeque “not reading the directions twice” before assembly, and much much more.

Pam Walter, truth be known, is simply a player in the book. A ‘for instance’ and a figurehead perhaps. It is a dreadful story and one that garners my absolute empathy to be sure, but understand that the book is so far and above “MORE” than a story about Pam.

It is a ‘must read” for all aFibbers. NOW! Not the night before you are going in for ablation, etc. It is thought provoking and very well written in my humble opinion and will, at the very least, make one think to the extent that when sitting down with your EP you will know some questions that you really DO want to ask. The top question on my list is going to be “Just exactly who is going to be diddling around inside my beating heart and where will you be during the course of this procedure, from start to finish?” It will bring you directly to face your own mortality and the possibility that things can and do go wrong, albeit rarely.

I can tell you one thing for certain, it will give you background to be able to ask some very difficult questions with tact and diplomacy and it will most certainly motivate you to ask the questions that need to be asked.

Thanks to Dan and Pam for bringing this book to us. Sympathy and empathy for the grief gone through in making it possible. And thoughts and best wishes for the future to both of you.

With my personal thanks for just one more piece of enlightenment that no aFibber should really be without.

“These words of tragedy help us, and I am grateful you wrote them.  They help us learn, and this makes us better, both as clinicians and as people.”


I may be the last person on this listserv to read Dan Walter’s book, Collateral Damage.  Blew me away.  Especially because of the FDA medical device user fees re-authorization timing.

My review is on


“Read your book. When I present on subject of atrial fibrillation, one of the slides is about your book. Thank you for raising awareness.”

 — Vitaly Piluiko Chief of Cardiothoracic Surgery Department at Mercy Hospital


Comments are closed.

%d bloggers like this: