“Brilliant...scholarly. A reading of Killer Care makes an immediate personal investment in our own safer patient-centered care logical and worthwhile. ...Killer Care is strongly advised.” —T. Michael White, M.D., former VP and clinical professor of medicine, University of Pittsburgh Medical Center; author, Unsafe to Safe
“In Killer Care, James Lieber uncovers systemic failures and lack of safeguards in patient safety. His wake-up call not only informs, but provides specific and actionable recommendations for patients and their families. His analysis also points to system fixes that will make being a patient safer for all of us.” —Barbara Mittleman, M.D.; former director, Program on Private-Public Partnerships, Office of Science Policy, National institutes of Health (2006-2012)
Each year in the U.S., a quarter of a million deaths are attributable to medical error. If the number shocks, on some level you already knew it was so. Everyone knows someone—perhaps it was yourself—who has suffered miserable treatment in American hospitals, part of the most elaborate, most extensive and expensive health care system in the world. But it is perhaps the most inefficient.
Misdiagnoses, wrong prescriptions, operating on the wrong patient, even operating on the wrong limb (and amputating it): these are the consequences of rampant carelessness, overwork, ignorance, and hospitals trying to get the most out of their caregivers and the most money out of their patients.
What are we to do? Killer Care lays out the very real danger each of us faces whenever we enter a hospital. But more than that, it spells out what we can do to mitigate that risk. The book is also the story of the remarkable heroes fighting this plague of medical errors—patients and their families, but also doctors and nurses. Starting about twenty years ago, a number of victims and even some perpetrators of these errors began a social movement that offers us vital protections when we are most vulnerable: they have begun a cultural shift that is transforming every facet of health care.
About the author
James B. Lieber is the author of Rats in the Grain: The Dirty Tricks and Trials of Archer Daniels Midlandand Friendly Takeover: How an Employee Buyout Saved a Steel Town (nominated for the Pulitzer Prize). He has written for a variety of publications,The New York Times, The Atlantic Monthly, and The Nation among them. His article on the financial crisis for The Village Voice became that publication’s most widely read article for the year. He is a Pittsburgh-based lawyer, dividing his practice between civil rights law and commercial litigation.