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One week of doctors' misdeeds in the news

In the proposal for my book,The Wrong Stuff, I mention that a new scandalous headline about bad doctors appears once a month. This was an underestimate, at least as far as this week of July 16, 2011, is concerned. The following stories were published while HHS and the state boards of medicine insist that most of the bad results in medicine are due to poor delivery systems. Here's the list for this week:

  • In Illinois a new law went into effect to revoke permanently the licenses of health care practitioners convicted of sex crimes. Over the years 16 doctors and chiropractors retained their licenses despite convictions. Doctors who battered patients were placed on probation with little oversight.
  • In Westmoreland County, Pennsylvania, Excela Corporation had to tell 141 patients that unnecessary heart stents had been placed in them by Dr. Ehab Morcos or Dr. George Bousamra  at one of their hospitals in the Pittsburgh area.
  • The American Academy of Pediatrics announced that it had issued its first policy on protecting children from sexual abuse by pediatricians.One of the advisories is that parents should be told that they have the right to have a chaperone present when their child is examined.
  • Despite six opportunities to catch the error doctors transplanted a kidney from a donor with known Hepatitis C in Pittsburgh. Both the lead surgeon and the transplant nephrologist are blamed.
  • There is a dramatic nationwide increase in cesarean sections. One obstetrical expert commented: "Cesarean section should be done at the right time and for the right reason.Some cesarean sections are being done too early and not for the right reason. Convenience for the woman or her doctor isn't the right reason."
   One of the key themes of my book, The Wrong Stuff  is that the Institute of Medicine was wrong to place so much blame on flawed delivery systems and not enough on flawed practitioners. They distorted the scientific results of some of their own authors.  I think the above list speaks for itself. 

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