Post #6 Doctors Should Admit Their Mistakes…………….Sept. 11, 2014


Newspapers Are Near theBottom dog Some people think dogs are dumb animals. But perception is often far from reality, The dog pictured here, for example, is smart. Very smart. The “dumb” perception is unfair. When it comes to a corporation, the perception of how it handles its customers is crucial. Henry Ford said, “A business that is absolutely devoted to service will have only one worry when it comes to profits. They will be embarrassingly large”.

Perhaps the one industry that has been maligned the most over the years has been the newspaper industry. The confidence of Americans in journalists has been in bad need of repair for a long time. As far back as the 1800s, Mark Twain was saying, “If you don’t read the newspaper, you’re uninformed. If you do read the newspaper, you’re misinformed.”

Humorist and Pulitzer prize winning columnist for The Miami Herald, Dave Barry, describes the plight of the press this way: “Polls show that, in terms of public trust, the news media now rank lower than used-car salespeople, kidnappers, tapeworms, Hitler and airline flight announcements. (We are still slightly ahead of lawyers.)” Click here for complete article.

Who is responsible for this lack of trust? Barry puts the blame squarely on The New York Times, which he describes as the only newspaper “capable of publishing a Sunday edition the size of a Buick Riviera”. Barry says one of the problems is the company food. “The editor is stuck in a building eating NEWSPAPER CAFETERIA  FOOD that was originally developed by construction-industry researchers as a substitute for PLWOOD.”

One bright note: in the latest popularity poll, newspapers are ranked above the members of Congress—the group ranked lowest when it comes to having the confidence of the American public.

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When Doctors Admit Their Mistakes….  Back in Post #3 (see Archives–July 8), you’ll find a description of just what “Ted Talks” are, and how they can be accessed. Ted Talk speakers continue to be a source of refreshingly different and helpful information. The sensitive subject of doctor mistakes is addressed with amazing candor by Dr. Brian Goldman in his 19 minute Ted Talk on March 11, 2013 (click here for video;  make time for this; it’s remarkable).

Dr. Goldman, a hospital Emergency Room doctor in Toronto, Canada, reminds us that hospital acquired infections are on the rise. “Errors happen every day. One in 10 medications given in a hospital is either the wrong medication or the wrong dosage. In the U.S., the Institute of Medicine says 100,000 die  of preventable medical errors, which is a gross underestimate.”

The focal point of Goldman’s Ted Talk is the description of his first big mistake—a congestive heart failure patient that he sent home prematurely, after she showed improvement. But an hour after she got home, she collapsed and returned to the hospital in severe shock. She never recovered from a coma and 9 days later the family pulled the plug and she died of irreversible brain damage. (Keep in mind, Goldman was a grade”A” cum laude student in med school). images---dick daviis blog-docter

Goldman says “In sending her home, I disregarded the voice deep down inside that was trying to tell me, Goldman, not a good idea, don’t do this……..It’s taken decades for me to be able to talk about my mistake publicly.”

Goldman says doctors make mistakes all the time. They are commonplace.  He pleas for a culture in medicine that encourages and rewards doctors to discuss their serious errors with each other. He contends that a free exchange of such valuable information will save lives and trigger the discovery of new medications and new treatments. He says,”most of the great successes in medicine come from failure.”

Dr. Goldman practices what he preaches. He has a radio show in Canada called, “White Coat, Black Art.” He brings doctors on the program for the purpose of asking each one: “What’s the worst mistake you’ve ever made?” Answers have ranged from prescribing the wrong medication resulting in serious  side effects, to a missed brain bleed, to a missed fracture in a child that caused unnecessary suffering. (And these are just the mistakes they admit to.)

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It’s All About “Givers” and “Takers” When it comes to the importance of mate-selection, author H. Jackson Brown is unequivocal. He says, “Choose your life’s mate carefully. From this one decision will come 90 percent of all your happiness or misery”. The following overview .is my attempt to put this life-shaping decision into some perspective.

There are people in this world who are unselfish and think of others before themselves. Then there are those who are selfish and think of themselves before others. But human nature is complex; it defies black and white characterizations. Most of us are in between; we can be self-centered sometimes, caring and empathetic at other times, but mostly in neutral most of the time.

Despite the complexity of human nature, there are people whose first thoughts, instinctively and intuitively, in any situation, will be of the other person. Being unselfish, caring about and helping others is in their genes, it’s their core nature; it’s their DNA. If you have 2 people like this, and they’re getting married, they will stay married forever. The magic formula, then, for wedding couple--posy 7--blogdurability in marriage is having a Giver marry a Giver. There can always be extenuating circumstances, but this is as close as you can get to guaranteed, lasting harmony.

On the other hand, if a Giver marries a Taker, all bets are off. The marriage may or may not last. It  depends on the Giver’s tolerance for on-going indifference and thoughtlessness. What’s certain is that there will be turbulence in the marriage with future prospects dim.

And finally, there’s the third ugly prospect—when a Taker marries a Taker. This is the formula for disaster. I used the word “guarantee” in describing the happy outcome of a marriage between Giver and Giver. I can use it again here. This marriage is guaranteed to end in divorce.

The moral then— when contemplating marriage, is to be sure that both you and your intended are Givers. How do you do this? Mostly, you have to be lucky. As for yourself, by the time you’re ready for marriage, your character is pretty well formed. None of us think of ourselves as being selfish. But just in case we’re wrong, we can try focusing even harder on thinking of others before ourselves—and then practice doing it. Author Michael Ben Zehabe asks, “Would you marry you? Be the right person before seeking the right person.” Givers & Takers

An easier but still difficult job is using good judgment in picking a mate. I believe  courses in Mate Selection and Happy Marriage should be taught in high school and required to be taken in college. It’s not the solution, but it would help.

There are three things that make the job of picking a life partner sticky. One is that the ability to be a good judge of character is unlikely to develop from weak parenting and/or poor role models, the background in so many homes today..Second, at the age of marrying, decisions are mostly influenced by emotions, not reason. Your heart, not your brain is doing most of the work. And third is that during the courtship period, both parties are at their best, which may or may not portend their actual behavior after marriage (a pretty good argument for avoiding surprises is living together before tying the knot; another way not to be surprised is to take the “car door test” as explained in archives Post 2, June 2 under “Choosing A Wife”).

To you and me, picking out examples of indifferent and selfish behavior would be easy. Many “me-first” traits would be painfully obvious. But when you’re in love and you want something to happen, you make excuses to explain away what are clear warning signals.

So it all comes back to what I said in the beginning: when you marry young, your judgment is also young. If it turns out to be a lasting and happy marriage, for the most part, you were LUCKY..

Luck--givers and takers





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He Died in 1965  But His Words Live On    How is it possible for one mind to produce so many memorable, witty, pithy, clever. prudent and deliciously quotable words?  It bogles the mind, especially in light of the fact that the person involved had a speech impediment! Winston Churchill has been called “one of the most quotable men who has ever walked God’s green earth” by columnist John Hawkins.

Here are some of the short, snappy Churchill quotes I like the most: ♦  My tastes are simple. I am easily satisfied  with the best. ♦ If you are going through hell, keep going. ♦ Nothing in life is more exhilarating than to be shot at without result.  ♦Success consists of going from failure to failure without loss of enthusiasm. ♦ When you get a thing the way you want it, leave it alone. ♦ He is a very modest man, with much to be modest about.

Winston Churchill And then there are my two favorite lightening quick response quotes. George Bernard Shaw writes, “I am enclosing two tickets to the first night of my new play. Bring a friend, if you have one.” To which Churchill replies, “Can not possibly attend first night., Will attend second–if there is one.” Finally, there’s this exchange with Lady Astor: “Winston, if I was your wife, I’d put poison in your coffee.” “Nancy, if I were your husband, I’d drink it.

Click here for full profile of Churchill.

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Out Of The Mouths of Babes… Children sometimes say remarkable or insightful things far beyond their years. Such was the case when 6 year old Tre Hart of Fort Lewis, Washington was told by his mother that she waschild exasperated-mother pregnant pregnant with her third child. Pediatricians tell us that young children are often upset by such news. The new baby represents the threat of competition for the love and attention of their parents. In this case, “upset” is putting it mildly. See and hear for yourself the unbelievable reaction of Tre when his mother tells him she’s pregnant (click HERE for the story and HERE for the video).

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Post #6 Doctors Should Admit Their Mistakes…………….Sept. 11, 2014 — 3 Comments

  1. Hi Dick Your stock market article was great. This is thebest advise you can give a young invester (if they will listen). warmest regards David Hope to see you in Nov

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