TorteDeForm

Sarah Solon

In the Detroit News: “A sloppy, inefficient medical system costs lives and billions of dollars”

Check out the article "Bad Medicine," featuring shocking stats like: "On an average day, General Motors Corp. estimates that one person it insures dies because of medical errors, and 40 are sickened by prescription drug mistakes. The automaker loses about $4 million a day because of medical errors and inefficiencies."


Sam Shalaby is a car guy. He used to run a Delphi components plant in Dayton, and his language is still sprinkled with manufacturing terms 10 years after becoming the muscle behind GM's health care efforts. He speaks of colonoscopies in terms of price per unit and extols the virtues of "brand management" for medical centers.

For a company man accustomed to having products recalled for minor design flaws, the error-prone American health care system is baffling. On an average day, General Motors Corp. estimates that one person it insures dies because of medical errors, and 40 are sickened by prescription drug mistakes.

The automaker loses about $4 million a day because of medical errors and inefficiencies.

GM data reveal massive differences in quality and price of medical care across regions of the country, and even between hospitals in the same city. What's worse, hospitals sometimes make more money when they make mistakes because they profit from longer recovery times.

"If we ran an auto plant like they run hospitals, we'd be out of business," said Shalaby, director of community health initiatives. "The medical system is so obsolete, no one understands how to make it work."

While others in the GM health care war room plot strategy, Shalaby is on the front lines brow-beating doctors to lower rates and cajoling hospital administrators to implement assembly line techniques.

It's not an easy sell. Some meetings with hospital administrators have nearly degenerated to fistfights.

Click here to read the rest of the article.

Sarah Solon: Author Bio | Other Posts
Posted at 3:28 PM, Sep 29, 2006 in Civil Justice
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Comments

This post raises an interesting point.

Are we comfortable with the rate of errors in the medical practic becasue "To Err Is Human"(http://www.nap.edu/catalog/9728.html).

Interestingly, auto manufacture is now highly automated.

Should we hold our doctors to a high level of care despite their inherently human limitations, or do we demand more?

Posted by: Cyrus Dugger | September 30, 2006 12:19 PM