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Each year in the US, 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 20 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.