Originally published on Fri August 23, 2013 3:14 pm
For decades, rural parts of the Northwest have found it difficult to lure doctors to small towns. Community leaders in Yakima, Wash. went so far as to found a small medical school to train doctors to practice in these underserved areas.
The Pacific Northwest University opened in 2006. But there is a problem. Small towns throughout the region just don’t have enough residency programs. And that means many of these doctors-in-training may move away.
Before 1970, doctors used to lie to their patients all the time. They knew that some hypochondriacs became noticeably better when doctors gave them a sugar pill.
This was called "the placebo effect." After 1970, we thought of placebos differently. Researchers decided that for a drug to be deemed effective, it had to outperform a placebo. But we never stepped back and took a good hard look at the placebo and why it worked.
Medical mistakes are now the third highest cause of death in the United States, writes Dr. Marty Makary. As a surgeon, Makary has witnessed the power of medicine firsthand. But he's also been shocked by the errors that can have tragic circumstances: wrong limbs amputated, children getting the wrong doses of medicine because of bad handwriting, surgical sponges left inside patients.
Makary advocates for a culture that holds hospitals and doctors accountable for these mistakes in order to bring about positive change in this system. He spoke at Seattle's Town Hall on November 15, 2012.