Readers should check out a powerful NYT column by Maureen Dowd on the unnecessary death of a 12-year-old boy from an undiagnosed but easily treatable strep infection.
Rory Staunton’s hero was Captain Sully Sullenberger, who safely landed the airliner in the Hudson. As Sullenberger told Ms. Dowd:
“If something good comes from Rory’s death, it will be that we realize we have a broken system. Patient care is so fragmented. For the most part, medical professionals aren’t taught these human skills that some deride as ‘soft skills.’ So there’s insufficient sharing of information and ineffective communication.
“Some in the medical field look upon these deaths as an unavoidable consequence of giving care. But they’re inexcusable and unthinkable.”
Our firm represented a family in a similar case a few years ago, where the doctor assumed his patient had a benign condition but she actually had a strep infection brewing that would have been easily treated with penicillin. I discuss lessons from that case about communicating with your doctor in my book, “The Life You Save.”