“Defensive Medicine” — A Mom’s Moving Response

A North Carolina mother who lost her 6-year-old son to preventable medical errors writes a moving response to talk of “malpractice reform” and “defensive medicine.” Laurie Sanders opens her story in the Charlotte Observer with these lines:

Medical negligence isn’t a topic I gave much thought to until my 6-year-old son went to the hospital sick for the first time in his life and died of oxygen deprivation. A happy little boy, with no history of breathing problems, no allergies … never sick. Christopher was my only son. His daddy, my husband, had died of cancer a few years earlier.

In experiencing the death of my husband and son, I have seen the best medical professionals and the worst. I have seen the most caring, and the least.

I buried my husband knowing that medical professionals did everything they could. I buried my son knowing that medical professionals failed him at the most basic level.

Ms. Sanders tells what happened to her son, including the legal investigation she launched to get at the truth, and then offers these thoughts:

One of the lessons of Christopher’s unnecessary death – and my necessary lawsuit – is not that health care providers need to engage in cost-inflating “defensive medicine.” Instead, it is that doctors and nurses must pay attention, communicate with their colleagues and adhere to well-recognized standards of practice.

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