Monday, December 9, 2013


I don’t have TV these days—and mostly don’t miss it. This doesn’t mean I work until I go to  bed—I enjoy my relaxation time.

Instead, I’ll watch a movie on Netflix, listen to NPR or read. Indeed, I may talk to a real live human—or go out to dinner with friends.

We writers spend a great deal of time in solitude, but that doesn’t mean we’re all inherently anti-social. Mind you, some of us are pretty weird.

From the days when I did watch TV, I recall falling in love with Tina Rosenberg. I think she was on Book TV. Either way, it was love at first sight, and it has remained a perfect relationship, perhaps because I have never met the woman. But she writes for the New York Times, and never fails to come up with a topic that doesn’t get my attention.

Her NYT article of Dec. 4 caused my eyebrows to levitate:

“Going to the hospital is supposed to be good for you. But in an alarming number of cases, it isn’t. And often it’s fatal. In fact it is the most dangerous thing most people will do.

Available statistics on hospital safety don’t tell the public what they need to know to make informed decisions.

Until very recently, health care experts believed that preventable hospital error caused some 98,000 deaths a year in the United States — a figure based on 1984 data. But a new report from the Journal of Patient Safety using updated data holds such error responsible for many more deaths — probably around some 440,000 per year. That’s one-sixth of all deaths nationally, making preventable hospital error the third leading cause of death in the United States. And 10 to 20 times that many people suffer nonlethal but serious harm as a result of hospital mistakes.”

Do the math. 10 to 20 times 440,000 dead equals 4.4 to 8.8 million in the serious but not lethal category for which we pay nearly twice as much in healthcare as just about any other developed nation.

And we’re worried about terrorism!

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