This short booklet of 12 chapters serves a clear purpose: to raise awareness about individual accountability in the fields of health care and medicine.
Physician Philip Scheinberg and his wife, Linda, a nurse, succinctly illuminate the dangers of a health care system in which patients are too trusting of their practitioners and too oblivious to rapid changes that can impact daily medicine. For example, in one revealing chapter, the authors warn of hospital-acquired infections resulting from improper sanitation methods and procedural mistakes. The authors warn readers to head to the hospital equipped with sanitary wipes and disinfectant, since hospital beds and equipment are often not sanitized between patients, causing bacterial infections to spread and impacting a multitude of patients each year. Perhaps these candid suggestions wouldn’t be so powerful were they not informed by the authors’ several combined decades of hospital experience. Aside from these types of invisible dangers, the book also discusses procedural mistakes made in physicians’ offices and surgery rooms. As the authors explain, these mistakes, which are generally due to patient overload and understaffing, can range from medication mix-ups to surgery on the wrong limb or wrong side of the body. In short, the book reveals much in a small number of pages. Rather than overwhelming the lay reader with medical facts and statistics, the authors instead seem intent on raising awareness among patients about the need for more self-accountability. The book also suggests a few remedies: For example, researching your physician and boldly asking necessary questions about training and expertise can aid in receiving the appropriate treatment. The book points out that in modern health care, no family physician or general practitioner can be expected to have specialized knowledge about all diseases and conditions. Furthermore, the book suggests that readers learn as much as they can about health care policy and insurance plans, since each individual necessitates a different approach to care, depending upon conditions and finances. All in all, this book serves an important role in showing the flaws in a system that is perceived, by many, to be sterile and infallible. Readers will likely be grateful for a breath of candid reality spoken from the doctors themselves.
A blunt, useful guide to approaching health care with more knowledge and less blind trust.