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Publisher's Summary

Medical mistakes are more pervasive than we think. How can we improve outcomes? An acclaimed MD's rich stories and research explore patient safety.

Patients enter the medical system with faith that they will receive the best care possible, so when things go wrong, it's a profound and painful breach. Medical science has made enormous strides in decreasing mortality and suffering, but there's no doubt that treatment can also cause harm, a significant portion of which is preventable. In When We Do Harm, practicing physician and acclaimed author Danielle Ofri places the issues of medical error and patient safety front and center in our national healthcare conversation. 

Drawing on current research, professional experience, and extensive interviews with nurses, physicians, administrators, researchers, patients, and families, Dr. Ofri explores the diagnostic, systemic, and cognitive causes of medical error. She advocates for strategic use of concrete safety interventions such as checklists and improvements to the electronic medical record, but focuses on the full-scale cultural and cognitive shifts required to make a meaningful dent in medical error. Woven throughout the book are the powerfully human stories that Dr. Ofri is renowned for. The errors she dissects range from the hardly noticeable missteps to the harrowing medical cataclysms.

While our healthcare system is - and always will be - imperfect, Dr. Ofri argues that it is possible to minimize preventable harms, and that this should be the galvanizing issue of current medical discourse.

©2020 Danielle Ofri (P)2020 Random House Audio

Critic Reviews

"What makes this book special is Ofri’s perceptive and compassionate nature; she sees her own patients as real people and is candid with readers about her concerns and vulnerabilities.... Thorough analysis of a challenging problem executed with a personal touch that makes it highly readable." (Kirkus Reviews, starred review)

"An essential read for anyone involved or interested in the care of patients." (Booklist)

"One of the leading physician-authors of our time, Danielle Ofri masterfully diagnoses the reasons for our pervasive problem of medical errors. Beyond a systematic dissection that every patient can understand, she provides solutions for how to get healthcare on track." (Professor Eric Topol, author of Deep Medicine)

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  • Jane Pilecki
  • 11-08-20

Great information and story. Horrible reader.

I feel as though the reader thinks I am in 2nd grade. He airy, high-ish voice is very tiresome. As a woman, I don't feel as though the reader brings any gravitas to the topics because of her voice. She sounds like the little girl trying to get into a conversation, but never gets heard due to the stronger voices overbearing her. As well, her pronunciation of some terms (heme-onc) is wrong. The subject of this book is important. But the voice given to it seems to take away that importance. She doesn't even transmit the sarcasm of the writer when it is there in the words. This reader shoud be limited to reading childrens books and not those for adults.
The book is excellent, although a bit wordy at times. But overall, I wish I could read the book (I am blind) rather than listen to it.

1 person found this helpful

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  • Diane
  • 22-03-21

I went through an event 12 years ago

I have a pacemaker/defibrillator.The two V tacks qualified me for it. The high amount of BP meds.7 Catapress and 2 Lopressor in 24 hours induced the ventricule tachycardia. 12 years after, my heart has only been paced less than 1% during sleep. my resting heart rate is 48-50. the lowest rate for my pacemaker is 50. My nightmare continues because the wire to my atrium is compromised (falling apart) they will have to remove and replace it before it turns into slivers, I'm not sure when.
This book has so many resources that I didn't know existed and why I couldn't find a lawyer or anyone who could help. I changed to a different hospital and doctors, but am weary, anxious and I didn't think about PTSD from my event and how it changed my life forever.
Thank you for the research and information. Thank you for writing this!