Top Screwups Doctors Make and How to Avoid Them

By Joe Graedon, M.S. and Teresa Graedon, Ph.D.

Health care screwups are one of the leading causes of death in America, killing as many as 750,000 people annually. That’s more than heart attacks or cancer. And yet most people don’t know this, including most physicians. From diagnostic disasters to deadly drug interactions, the bestselling authors of The People’s Pharmacy expose the alarming epidemic of medical mistakes in America—and offer a lifesaving prescription to make the healthcare system safe again.

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Don't Be a Statistic

There is a culture of cover-up in medicine that has been very effective at keeping mistakes secret. A recent study found that the most sophisticated way of detecting harm in the hospital identified 100 times more problems than doctors reported.

(Health Affairs, April, 2011)

How can you protect yourself or your loved ones from health care harm? Top Screwups has dozens of questions to ask and tips to trouble-shoot potential mistakes before they cause irreversible damage. Find out about the Top 10 diagnostic screwups doctors make and the questions to ask to reduce diagnostic disasters. Get tips for preventing dangerous drug interactions and discover the top 10 most problematic pills in the pharmacy. Learn which drugs should almost never be prescribed to older people and which can cause memory loss or confusion.

Top Screwups Doctors Make and How to Avoid Them also has practical information on the top screwups for many common conditions, such as:

  • ADD (attention deficit disorder)
  • Arthritis
  • Back pain
  • Breast cancer
  • Diabetes
  • Heartburn
  • Migraine headaches
  • Osteoporosis
  • Prostate problems
    and many more

Whether you are sick or healthy, young or old, a parent of a young child, or caring for an elderly love one, Top Screwups Doctors Make and How to Avoid Them is an eye-opening book that could save a life.

Report Medical Mistakes

If you or someone you know has experienced a medical screwup, report it here. Your story will help to inform our readers, perhaps even save a life.

David W. Bates, MD, MSc, professor of medicine, Harvard Medical School, and director, Center for Patient Safety Research and Practice, Brigham and Women’s Hospital:
"Patients get harmed all too often in our health care system today by care that is intended to help them but does the opposite. But there are many approaches people can take which can reduce the likelihood that will happen. In this book, Joe and Teresa Graedon do a great—and irreverent—job describing the common causes of harm, and what you can do to try to prevent them."

Allan J. Hamilton, MD, FACS, professor of surgery and radiation oncology, University of Arizona Health Sciences Center, author of The Scalpel and the Soul:
"Joe and Teresa Graedon have performed an enormous public service by putting this book together. Unfortunately, an epidemic of medical adverse events—preventable lethal mistakes—are destroying the quality of American healthcare. In all my years as a physician and an advocate for a safer, error-free health care system, I have never seen a more practical and readable guide to help patients become more vigilant and proactive in preventing medical errors. If you or someone you love is facing a serious illness or major surgery, defend yourself: Buy this book, read it cover to cover. No one cares more about your life than you do. If you were faced with a lethal threat, you would naturally do everything in your power to defend yourself. Put this book in your holster. Arm yourself. Take it with you to the hospital. And save your own life."

Alan Greene, MD, clinical professor, Packard Children’s Hospital, Stanford University School of Medicine, founding president, Society for Participatory Medicine:
"This could be one of the most important books you will ever read if you or a loved one will be dealing with doctors, hospitals or prescription medications—or if you’re a doctor yourself. Read it through now, bring it with you to the hospital, and give it to those you care about. Joe and Terry Graedon have done it again!"

Christopher P. Landrigan, MD, MPH, research director, Children’s Hosptial Boston Inpatient Pediatric Service, director, Sleep and Patient Safety Program, Brigham and Women’s Hospital, associate professor of medicine and pediatrics, Harvard Medical School:
"A decade of research has firmly established that medical error is among the leading causes of death in the United States. The sad but simple truth is that the problem has grown so large that physicians cannot overcome it alone. In this eye-opening book, Joe and Terry Graedon shine a painfully bright light on the hazards of the healthcare system, but it is light by which patients and doctors can begin seeing how to work together to achieve safer care. The book is filled with practical tips to empower patients. It should be required reading for every doctor, and for everyone who has ever been a patient."