Have a Story to Tell? Had a medical error?

This blog is about patient safety, medical malpractice, staying healthy, and preventing future errors. Help & empower someone else, Teach a lesson, Bear witness, Build our community - Email us or call 781-444-5525.

Frustrated with a health problem?

Need an ally in your health crisis? Call 781-444-5525, or learn more.

Monday, April 9, 2012

Shared Decision Making and Mike Wallace

Mike Wallace, the well-known veteran journalist of CBS' 60 Minutes, passed away on Saturday.

Working in journalism for more than 60 years, he died at age 93. He had lived for many years with heart problems. He had had a pacemaker installed more than 20 years ago, and had had triple bypass surgery in early 2008.

Experts are becoming more skeptical about many forms of surgery and screenings, particularly heart surgery. The National Priorities Partnership, for example, has identified coronary artery bypass grafts (CABGs) and percutaneous transluminal coronary angioplasty (PTCA), among others, as often unwarranted, and has recommended that healthcare organizations concentrate on reducing them. Yet Wallace was able to live to a ripe old age with the benefit of several heart operations. It's very complex to ascertain whether an operation is right for a certain person. That's why shared decision-making, perhaps with a patient advocate, is so important.

Shared decision-making will be the subject of a forum in Waltham, Massachusetts on April 10, organized by the Massachusetts Health Data Consortium. Dr. Henriette Coetzer and David Veroff of Health Dialog will make presentations for the session, entitled "For Good Measure: Identifying Opportunities and Outcomes for Patient Decision Quality."

For considerations in the surgery decision, see Chapter 3 of my book, Getting Your Best Health Care: Real-World Stories for Patient Empowerment.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

It's worth noting that Wallace conducted his last TV interview shortly before the surgery; after the surgery he "retired from public life" and I glean from news reports that after the surgery he was unable to live on his own; he suffered from dementia and lived in assisted living/ nursing home. Cognitive decline is a recognized and widespread complication of heart bypass surgery, and perhaps is especially risky in the very old, who are often suffering from other forms of subtle cognitive decline.