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IHI: Hospitals, Patients Rethink Care; Berwick Blasts Rhetoric

Cheryl Clark, for HealthLeaders Media, December 8, 2011

Berwick's temper seemed to rise even more when he talked about the political debate over so-called "death panels."

He described as "nonsense, fabricated out of nothing but fear and lies, [the notion that] that some plot is afoot to, literally, kill patients under the guise of end-of-life care. That is hogwash.  It is purveyed by cynics; it employs deception; and it destroys hope," he said.

"The truth, of course, is that there are no 'death panels' here, and there never have been.  The truth is that, as our society has aged and as we have learned to care well for the chronically ill, many of us face years in the twilight our lives when our health fades and our need for help grows and changes. 

Many attendees leaving Berwick's talk said he was inspirational and gave them the energy and courage to push for change in their own organizations.

In coming weeks and months, I hope to describe in greater detail many of the creative sessions I heard about preventing errors and infections and gathering data and transforming culture to drive change. A lot of it may seem pie-in-the-sky right now, but just wait.


Cheryl Clark is senior quality editor and California correspondent for HealthLeaders Media. She is a member of the Association of Health Care Journalists.
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2 comments on "IHI: Hospitals, Patients Rethink Care; Berwick Blasts Rhetoric"


michael.cipolla (12/12/2011 at 4:26 PM)
"Hospitals have become hospital centric..." And physicians have become physician centric and healthcare insurers have become insurer centric and politicians have always been looking out for themselves. We don't need to get along with each other, but we do need to work together for the patient. That may mean the patient won't get all the MRIs or lab tests or concierge services or gourmet meals that make them happy, but don't contribute to getting them healthy or out of the hospital.

david hahn (12/8/2011 at 2:14 PM)
I do not bow to Professor's knowledge. As a health care professional , I don't think he understands that of which he speaks. Rationing is rationing when the money dries up. We must learn to be cost effective and it may not always be plesant