Marty Makary, a surgeon at Johns Hopkins hospital in Baltimore, has released a new book in which he claims that patients should avoid many American hospitals.
In his study on patient safety, Unaccountable: What Hospitals Won't Tell You and How Transparency Can Revolutionize Health Care, Mr. Makry urges patients to discriminate in their choice of treatment centre.
In his book, Mr. Makary points to numerous cases of poor practice and negligence within the US healthcare system. For example, he cites a study published in the New England Journal of Medicine that found medical mistakes are a problem that affects around a quarter of American patients.
In a similar vein, Makary higlights the statistic that US surgeons operate on the wrong person or body part up to 40 times a week. As well as malpractice, American practitioners are guilty of excess. According to Mr. Makary up to thirty per cent of all medications, tests, and procedures in health care may be unnecessary and some patients (10-15 %) are not given a choice of treatment
In an interview on “CBS morning” Mr. Makary sought to explain how treatment could be so uneven during the twenty first century. He said, “We've have had an explosion of scientific knowledge, but not very good coordination of medical services.”
This lack of coordination also applies to how even experienced doctors treat the same condition in a different way. "I have seen in my training a simple polyp found on a colonoscopy managed [in] two radically different ways: One doctor may remove it through a wire snare and another doctor says, 'I'd just like to take this out with surgery.' There's still a wide difference in quality of care in America today."
As for a solution to the current crisis Mr. Makary pointed to patient power, "(Patients) can be empowered. I don't think regulators or insurance companies or the hospital will fix the health care system. I think it will be patients."