What We’re Reading: 01/17/20


A few highlights from around the web that made it into our feeds this week.

Race and Medicine: The Harm That Comes From Mistrust

Disparity is built into our health system, and black Americans have always suffered worse outcomes than white Americans. It’s not nearly enough to simply recognize reality, we need structural change. 

This article does a great job of highlighting our painful history while breaking down systemic inequity through three critical data points: lower rates of health coverage, communication barriers, and racial stereotyping based on false belief. Not to be missed. (From nytimes.com)

It began with a piece of popcorn stuck in his teeth. It ended with open-heart surgery.

A cautionary tale that’s oh so true — Have you ever gotten a popcorn hull stuck in your teeth? Most likely you were able to dislodge it with marginal effort, not the case for Adam Martin. His story began with a trapped kernel and ended in an incredible ordeal that required aortic valve replacement and mitral valve repair due to bacterial infection. (From washingtonpost.com)

Where Surgeons Don’t Bother With Checklists

Running through a surgical checklist—referred to as a “time out”—in the O.R. directly before the procedure is part of the Universal Protocol, and happens prior to every operation. You confirm the patient, procedure, incision site, and that all proper tools are on hand.

Surgical time outs are proven to be an effective way to avoid errors, prevent infections, and do the best job possible at saving lives. Over a decade ago, The World Health Organization advocated for its use in every hospital, yet a new report shows that adoption in poorer countries has been intermittent. The list is only used about a third of the time, and many factors are at play like more frequent emergencies and stubborn older surgeons. (From nytimes.com)

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