Julia Hallisy Recently sent me her book, The Empowered Patient. It is at once one of the most pragmatic and one of the most moving healthcare books that I have ever read. Remarkably, The Empowered Patient is not an angry book. It is not maudlin. To her great credit, Hallisy manages to keep her tone matter-of-fact as she tells her reader what every patient and every patient's advocate needs to know about how to stay safe in a hospital.
First she reminds us of the mind-boggling number of errors that occur in our hospitals every year. "As many as 95,000 people die annually" as a result of adverse events ranging from infections to fatal drug reactions. It's hard to grasp just how many people are dying until Hallisy gives what she calls "a tragic reference point." The number of lives lost to medical error is roughly equivalent to a World Trade Center attack occurring every two weeks during the year.
Hallisy's 300-page book is eminently readable, and filled with enormously useful detail. Hallisy and her husband learned how to keep their daughter safe the hard way. Although Kate was treated in some of the finest hospitals in the San Francisco Area, "During all those years of interacting with physicians and hospitals, I encountered virtually every problem a patient and their loved ones can face."
This book is not an expose. But ultimately, The Empowered Patient frankly acknowledges that U.S. hospitals have become hectic, potentially dangerous places. And you do have a right to feel safe. As Hallisy puts it: "Your need to feel safe is not self-indulgent. You have a right to expect a reasonable degree of safety. In fact, where else should you expect to be safer than in a hospital?"
Causes Julia Hallisy Supports
The American Red Cross