Dear friends,To put it in the context of our healthcare system, the unnecessary mortalities and morbidities are happening faster than our quality improvements are moving! In other words, if there are approximately 400,000 avoidable deaths annually attributable to healthcare encounters, this means that every day we delay implementing a viable solution we lose over 1,000 lives per day or about 45 lives every hour or 1 life every 1 and 1/2 minutes! In the time that it took me to write this post, 20 patients have lost their lives unnecessarily. Are any of them your loved ones?
Climate negotiations can seem quite abstract sometimes.
I'm here in Cancún, Mexico, where UN delegates from around the world spend hours debating details of complex regulations. Sometimes it seems that everyone has forgotten a crucial fact: the climate is changing much faster than these negotiations are moving.
Meanwhile, out in the real world, climate impacts are all too visible. Since the negotations began 10 days ago, climate disasters have struck all over the world: flooding in Australia, Venezuela, the Balkans, Columbia, India; wildfires in Israel, Lebanon, Tibet; freak winter storms in Europe and the United States. These events have been devastating--hundreds are dead, and hundreds of thousands have been affected.
All these lives come with stories, all these lives are loved by someone, and all these lives cannot just be written off as sacrificial lambs in the name of a growing bureaucracy that cannot move the meter. We can wring our collective hands and say that we wish we knew how to stop this gushing bleed. Yet, we continue to conduct business as usual, increasing revenues and testing and interventions and cognitive loads and questionable evidence. Ultimately, should eleven years of doing the same thing and getting the same woefully inadequate result encourage us to continue in the same direction, or should we just come to a full stop for a moment?
I realize that medicine cannot stop -- illness will not stop. But the lifestyle that feeds the gluttonous homicidal machine of healthcare can be altered. A combination of prevention, reduction of interventions of questionable effectiveness and safety, more time for doctors to think about their patients and make decisions together -- this is the path. It is not easy, but neither is losing a partner, a brother or a child to the very idol at whose altar we have come to worship and atone for all of our individual and societal bad choices. Today is the day. Who is with me?