Nurse Speaks Out About Ebola: Reward Her

This piece just appeared in Beyond Chron

Nurse Briana Aquirre’s Courage on Ebola

by Suzanne Gordon on October 20, 2014

Registered nurse Briana Aguirre spoke out on Ebola

Registered nurse Briana Aguirre spoke out on Ebola

On Friday October 17, The New York Times ran a story entitled “Controls Poor at Hospital, Nurse Says.”  It featured comments by a nurse at Texas Health Presbyterian Hospital in Dallas, the hospital that is now ground zero of concern about the management of Ebola in the US.  Registered nurse Briana Aguirre has spoken to the press about her concerns about how hospitals are managing Ebola.  To both print and TV media, Aguirre expressed dismay at the hospital’s failure to provide caregivers with protective gear and the training to use it.

This case is a real test of American healthcare’s commitment to patient safety.  The issue isn’t only whether hospitals will supply nurses and other healthcare workers with adequate protective gear as the National Nurses United (NNU), nurses’ union has called for.  The real test is how Texas Health Presbyterian  responds to the fact that Aguirre went public with her concerns.

Call … Continue reading

New Oped on Cultural and Computer Issues in Dallas Ebola Cases

Just had this published in the Dallas Morning News with my co-editor Ross Koppel of First Do Less Harm: Confronting the Inconvenient Problems of Patient Safety.

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Koppel and Gordon: Learn, don’t blame, after Dallas hospital’s Ebola diagnostic failure

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Mike Stone/Getty Images

Published: 14 October 2014 07:47 PM

Updated: 15 October 2014 05:57 AM


Whose fault was it? The doctor’s? The nurse’s? The hospital’s? The patient, for not explaining he had been close to a sick person? The electronic health record’s?

Conflicting reports abound in the press and social media about Texas Health Presbyterian Hospital Dallas’ ER staff failure to correctly diagnose the late Thomas Eric Duncan on his first visit there Sept. … Continue reading

The Tragedy of Electronic Medical Records

ebola-tmagArticleIn today’s Science Section of the New York Times, Abigail Zuger writes about the problems of computerized health records and how they contributed to the Ebola Case.  Please read her article, which is excellent. Readers who want to know more about these problems should read our book First Do Less Harm: Confronting the Inconvenient Problems of Patient Safety.  My co-editor Ross Koppel and his colleagues writes compellingly about the problems of Healthcare HIT.  Also read the article in the Dallas Morning News on hospital e-records.

Here is the comment I posted on Zuger’s article.

Electronic medical records also reduce the already limited time physicians, nurses, and other healthcare professionals and workers spend in conversation with each other consulting and planning care.  Physicians are now locked into specially constructed rooms huddled over their computers entering data into EHRs.  Ditto nurses.  People who have never learned to communicate and engage in genuine teamwork and who have never spent enough time communicating about critical medical issues in the past are now even more isolated from one another.  So not only do physicians and nurses spend less time actually in conversation with the … Continue reading

Vets Health Problems Go Beyond White House

Just published this in

Beyond Chron

Vets Health Problems Go Beyond White House

by Suzanne Gordon on October 14, 2014

Omar Gonzalez

Omar Gonzalez

Iraq war veteran Omar Gonzalez’ recent assault on the White House has led the press and pundits to focus on White House security failures, which, most recently has led to the resignation of Secret Service Director Julia Pearson. Sadly, there has been little effort to consider an equally pressing security problem the Gonzalez case highlights – one that will not be touched by efforts to enhance White House security.   These are the problems that thousands of communities cope with due to the complex mental health problems of soldiers returning from America’s recent wars Middle Eastern wars.

Most veterans who suffer from combat related mental illness do not end up leading a charge against the President. But literally thousands of them return from war badly damaged by a constellation of mental and physical illness that present problems for their own health and well-being as well as that of their families and communities. Even though, these problems have been widely publicized, many families, friends and neighbors of … Continue reading

Huge Threat to Patient Safety

KassirerindexPlease read this story in the New York Times “Detailing Financial Links of Doctors to Drug Makers.
We’ve all got to start protesting this kind of corruption of healthcare.  What this means is that patients  can’t trust what their doctor is telling them.  Jerome Kassier wrote about this problem in his fabulous book On the Take: How Medicine’s Complicity with Big Business Can Endanger Your Health, and it isn’t getting much better.  You cannot trust what your doctor prescribes as treatment because you don’t know if he/she is prescribing it because … Continue reading