Category: News & PR

Published: The Gazette-Times on Medical Accountability

Where is the medical accountability in Healthcare?

When things go wrong in healthcare, accountability from medical providers and institutions is hard to find. While excellence does exist, it often feels like the exception rather than the standard of care.

In a recent Op/Ed for the Gazette-Times (available here as a PDF), I outline the difficulties Phil encountered when obtaining care for a severed quadricep tendon – a lack of transparency, a failure to listen, and poor communication. Phil’s experience resonates because these are common issues in healthcare today.

Many thanks to the Gazette-Times for publishing this Op-Ed highlighting issues with accountability in healthcare. Read more about the additional obstacles Phil faced when seeking accountability:

Published: Failure to Thrive

Published: Failure to Thrive

I am thrilled to announce The Examined Life Journal chose to publish my essay, Failure to Thrive, about my husband’s surgery for a hiatal hernia. I’ve written other pieces on this experience. In an Op/Ed for the San Diego Union-Tribune, I outlined many of the medical missteps that occurred during Tom’s surgery. And in a blog post, I provided specific suggestions for anyone contemplating surgery to help avoid many of the issues we encountered. Before either of these two articles were written though, I wrote the essay, Failure to Thrive. Written just weeks after Tom’s surgery, this essay exposes my fears and frustrations during Tom’s difficult recovery post-surgery.

Here’s an excerpt:

“I kept thinking Tom might be turning the corner – the catheter is out, oh wait, it needs to go back in. The fluid in the drain is supposed to decrease as the week progresses and yet, the amount increased each time we measured it before emptying. Any minor victory was short-lived and often led to only more setbacks.

Tom showed little interest in the different liquids I proffered to tempt his appetite—tasteless or too sugary. In constant pain, he preferred sleep to escape his discomfort. I began to move through the days alone and Tom didn’t seem to notice. Our anniversary slipped by without a word. A Failure to Thrive. As a caretaker, advocate, wife, lover, and friend, roles blur and boundaries bend. It’s difficult to know how much to say, how hard to push, and how long to wait.

I’ve read obituaries describing the death as due to “complications post-surgery”. I now knew what that might mean. Family members helpless to intercede as their loved ones are overwhelmed by pain with no path forward. In my role as a patient advocate, I’ve listened to patients’ stories about their healthcare experiences. Recovery is often a bumpy road. It requires significant effort from both patients as well as those that care for them. If a patient is not engaged, it is difficult to find a way, despite the best intentions.”

I’m happy to report Tom recovered from this surgery.

The Examined Life Journal is a literary publication from the University of Iowa Carver College of Medicine. The journal is published once a year. A call is sent out to over 8600 people and there are between 400 – 600 submissions. This year, 46 writers were selected. It is an honor to be in this space with so many great writers sharing experiences with health, care and medicine.

Published: The San Diego Union-Tribune Op-Ed on Medical Mishaps

Opinion: Medical mishaps are shockingly common in U.S. hospitals. It happened to my husband.

Mistakes in medical care occur far more frequently than any one of us would like to think. But when it happens to you, or to someone you love, it can be devastating. My recent Op/Ed in the San Diego Union-Tribune highlights opportunities to improve on the delivery of healthcare here in the United States based on my husband’s surgery last year for a hiatal hernia.

Many thanks to the San Diego Union-Tribune for publishing this Op/Ed to help others navigating their own healthcare journey. And for steps you can take to try to protect yourself and loved ones before elective surgery, check out my blog:

Published: The Baltimore Sun Op-Ed on Medical Gaslighting

I am pleased to share The Baltimore Sun published my Op-Ed on the important issue of Medical Gaslighting.

I am pleased to share The Baltimore Sun published my Op-Ed on the important issue of Medical Gaslighting (available here as a PDF). Unfortunately, this issue is a common theme in my interviews with people about their healthcare experiences. It’s time to call this practice out, label it for what it is, in the hopes that by creating awareness of the problem, change may occur.

Medical Gaslighting happens when doctors fail to listen or dismiss a patient’s concerns. This practice can happen to anyone but skews more toward women. In her report for the Washington Post, Lindsey Bever cites numerous articles, research studies, and books supporting this phenomenon, noting:

  • a failure of physicians to understand pain differentials between men and women
  • the dismissal of reproductive health complaints
  • racial disparities amplified by gender
  • and the unfortunate choice to attach psychological causes to women’s health concerns or to not take women’s pain complaints seriously.

My Op-Ed outlines why medical gaslighting is problematic.

When the validity of a patient’s reality is questioned, this can lead to self-doubt, confusion and a loss in self-esteem. Medical gaslighting has serious consequences: As people struggle to get a diagnosis, physicians aren’t addressing the real problems leading to misdiagnoses, treatment failures and poor medical outcomes.

Bottom line, medical gaslighting is costly. It drains the financial resources of healthcare institutions, adds to insurance fees, and takes a significant toll on patients’ health, sometimes even claiming their lives. It’s time for medical gaslighting to stop. To read more, here’s the link to my Op-Ed on Medical Gaslighting in the Baltimore Sun. To discover ways for you to counter the practice of Medical Gaslighting, read my post titled Gaslighting – Steps to Counter.