Wall of Silence
The untold story of the medical mistakes that kill and injure millions of Americans
by Rosemary Gibson and Janardan Prasad Singh
Published by Lifeline Press
Listen to an interview with author Rosemary Gibson:
Rosemary Gibson on medical errors (26:56)
This book written for a general audience of health care consumers provides a popular treatment of the disturbing reality that medical errors occur with alarming frequency, often with lethal results. One study estimated that 100,000 Americans die each year of preventable medical mistakes -- equivalent to a 747 plane crash daily. Media reports of botched surgeries, medication mixups, and tragic misdiagnoses are increasingly in the public eye. Wall of Silence argues that these errors are becoming increasingly common as medical care becomes more complex, with miscommunication and systemic problems at the root of many failures.
Gibson and Singh argues that the health care system has an inherent bias to cover up errors -- in effect allowing and even encouraging doctors to bury their mistakes. The authors put a human face on the statistics by sharing disturbing stories that will make you think twice next time you need a "routine procedure" or short hospital stay. They give tips on things you can do to avoid becoming a statistic. But throughout the book it is clear that the authors place the blame where it should rest most -- with the administrators and system designers who have failed to design the health care system for safety in the same way we have demanded safety in the aviation industry.
The book is an eye-opening read both for the general public and for health care professionals.