Must Read!! Doctors at War

80140100810940MAlmost two years ago, Mark De Rond, an ethnographer at Cambridge University in England, sent a manuscript to the Culture and Politics of Health Care Work series at Cornell University Press. As co-editor of the series, I reviewed the manuscript — Doctors at War — which has just been published . It was done in the form of a of field notes describing De Rond’s months embedding with surgeons in a field hospital in Afghanistan during what is euphemistically dubbed – in the US at least – Operation Enduring Freedom. In other words the US war in Afghanistan, which is being waged not only by the US military but also by allies from other countries like the British, who, with the Americans ran Camp Bastion. The British Ministry of Defense (MOD) had asked De Rond to go to Afghanistan to study teamwork among British and American surgeons in the field hospital at Camp Bastion. As he describes it in the book, Camp Bastion was “the most successful trauma unit anywhere in the world.”

From the moment I began reading, I knew how important this book was and the … Continue reading

If You Haven’t Read Niemoller Lately…

niemoller indexI was reminded of the famous quote by Reverend Martin Niemoller  when I read this front page story in The New York Times about Trump voters, who are suddenly worried because they are losing government benefits they apparently didn’t think Trump would touch.

 

“First they came for the Socialists, and I did not speak out—
Because I was not a Socialist.Then they came for the Trade Unionists, and I did not speak out—
Because I was not a Trade Unionist.

Then they came for the Jews, and I did not speak out—
Because I was not a Jew.

Then they came for me—and there was no one left to speak for me.

  ”

 

 

 

 

Silencing Employees? Is that Good for Patient Safety at the VHA?

From Beyond Chron

New Threats to Patient Safety at the VHA

by Suzanne Gordon on March 9, 2017

VA Hospital in Washington DC

VA Hospital in Washington DC

Ever since a physician at the Phoenix VA Health Care System reported that Veterans Health Administration (VHA) administrators had been gaming data on wait times for patient appointments, VA whistleblowers have been embraced on Capitol Hill. There may be disagreement in Washington about the future of the VHA, but there is bi-partisan agreement that VHA employees should be supported and rewarded when they act to protect their patients.

Unfortunately, not enough legislators and veterans advocates understand that acting to create real patient safety involves far more than being a traditional whistleblower, which, as Webster’s dictionary explains, is “one who reveals something covert or who informs against another.” Or as the Federal Whistleblower Protection Act defines it, involves reporting a “violation of a law, rule or regulation; gross mismanagement; gross waste of funds; an abuse of authority; or a substantial and specific danger to public health or safety.” 

As an extensive literature on patient safety … Continue reading

Vets at Risk From Trump Attack on VA Unions and Free Speech

VApicJust posted this on The American Prospect, please read, like, comment and share.

VA Whistleblowers Beware: Tweeting Under Trump is No Two-Way Street`

A GOP bid to muzzle federal workers at the Veterans Health Administration will directly harm patients.

n 2014, when a Veterans Health Administration doctor in Phoenix revealed that some VHA administrators had falsified data on wait times for patient appointments, congressional Republicans applauded his whistleblowing on behalf of veterans’ health care.

Joined by many Democrats and, later, the bipartisan VA Commission on Care, Republicans said they supported a workplace culture that encourages federal employees to report agency problems, and speak up about misconduct by management.

Now, however, President Trump and his GOP allies are singing a different tune. If their current efforts to muzzle employees who may disagree with VHA policies or practices succeed, both the quality of VHA care and the safety of its patients will suffer. That’s because concerned caregivers will be afraid to criticize deficiencies when they spot them.  Read More