Farewell. The Flying Pig Has Left The Building.

Steve Hynd, August 16, 2012

After four years on the Typepad site, eight years total blogging, Newshoggers is closing it's doors today. We've been coasting the last year or so, with many of us moving on to bigger projects (Hey, Eric!) or simply running out of blogging enthusiasm, and it's time to give the old flying pig a rest.

We've done okay over those eight years, although never being quite PC enough to gain wider acceptance from the partisan "party right or wrong" crowds. We like to think we moved political conversations a little, on the ever-present wish to rush to war with Iran, on the need for a real Left that isn't licking corporatist Dem boots every cycle, on America's foreign misadventures in Afghanistan and Iraq. We like to think we made a small difference while writing under that flying pig banner. We did pretty good for a bunch with no ties to big-party apparatuses or think tanks.

Those eight years of blogging will still exist. Because we're ending this typepad account, we've been archiving the typepad blog here. And the original blogger archive is still here. There will still be new content from the old 'hoggers crew too. Ron writes for The Moderate Voice, I post at The Agonist and Eric Martin's lucid foreign policy thoughts can be read at Democracy Arsenal.

I'd like to thank all our regular commenters, readers and the other bloggers who regularly linked to our posts over the years to agree or disagree. You all made writing for 'hoggers an amazingly fun and stimulating experience.

Thank you very much.

Note: This is an archive copy of Newshoggers. Most of the pictures are gone but the words are all here. There may be some occasional new content, John may do some posts and Ron will cross post some of his contributions to The Moderate Voice so check back.


Tuesday, November 22, 2011

HCR -- Andy Rooney on "serious complications following minor surgery"

By John Ballard

Picture-10[1]An imaginative post at The Health Care Blog is entertraining, provocative and informative. The phrase "complications following surgery" is cited to underscore how doctors are sometimes termpted to conceal surgical errors that may have been preventable.

There is no clear "bottom line" but I have read about a quiet trend under the radar toward doctors and hospitals explaining what happened when surgical complications (mistakes?) result in one of the "risks" that may (or may not) be listed in a consent form.  In a number of instances straightforward candor may be averting malpractice suits, but I don't think there is a lot of literature published on this subject. That old tort reform argument bedevils the wider debate, but don't get me started.

Read the post for amusement. Then scan the comments for an array of rather serious responses. 
The subject is serious, but overall this is lightweight stuff.  

�I died last week, just a month after I said goodbye to you all from this very desk. I had a long and happy life � well, as happy as a cranky old guy could ever be. 92. Not bad. And gotta say, seeing my Margie, and Walter, and all my old friends again is great.

But then I read what killed me: �serious complications following minor surgery.�

Now what the heck is that?

Nobody gets run over by a �serious complication.� You don�t hear about a guy getting shot in the chest with a �serious complication.� Sure, I didn�t expect to live forever (well, maybe only a little bit), but I was sorta going for passing out some Saturday night into my strip steak at that great restaurant on Broadway. Maybe nodding off in my favorite chair, dreaming of reeling in a 40-pound striper. You know, not waking up. This whole �death by complication� thing is just so, I don�t know � vague and annoying. Here�s something else that bothers me. This note I got a few days ago from a lady who says she�s a fan. She talked to a reporter at a national newspaper the other day. Asked the reporter, basically, what kind of complication ��did me in�? The reporter said �No idea what killed him. Unless someone dies unusually young, we don�t deal with the cause of death.�

Here are two additional links triggered by this post.

?My Minute with Andy Rooney by Michael L. Milleson


OK, that was a cheap Andy Rooney imitation. But as it happens, I did have a phone conversation with Rooney about patient safety. It came right after the Institute of Medicine released its landmark report, To Err is Human, in November, 1999. The appalling toll of medical errors wasn�t exactly a secret back then, but doctors and hospitals had gotten used to publicly tut-tutting about the �price we pay� for medical progress every time a new study came out and then going back to doing exactly what they�d been doing before.

But this time was different. First, the IOM used names of real victims, taken from news reports. That meant real families who could appear on TV or testify before Congress to give the raw numbers a human face. Second, those numbers were raw, indeed: 44,000-98,000 preventable deaths each year in hospitals alone. Maybe not news to JAMA readers, but a jolt to the general public. Third, the group making this claim wasn�t some nattering nabob of Naderite negativism, but a prestigious part of the National Academy of Sciences. This was the �House of Medicine� demanding a housecleaning.

?Why We Still Kill Patients: Invisibility, Inertia, And Income
By the same author, last December, a serious look at a serious problem too often swept under the rug. Anyone doing homework about healthcare reform should regard this as essential reading. 

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