There is a great article in the NYTimes today about a physician that travels the country to advise hospitals on measures that can protect their patients (reduce infection rates, physician errors. etc.).
The article reminded me of my husband's first year of medical school. In the Spring he returned from a two week medical school humanitarian trip to Peru and immediately began experiencing intense abdominal pain. After two days of discomfort and a misdiagnosis (a rare parasitic infection picked up from swimming in the Amazon River?) he was admitted to the university hospital with appendicitis. We experienced a few medical errors during those two weeks, and the most important ones were due to the hierarchy. We requested that my husband be discharged before we probably should have - just because we really, honestly thought that he might die if we didn't.
We both learned a lot from that experience. My husband gained the ability to empathize, rather than merely sympathize, with patients. He also learned the value of prioritizing his ability to effectively communicate with patients. I learned the importance of being an advocate for my husband as a patient and that questioning the attending physician's treatment of him was okay.
This article was great; I think I might buy this book for my husband. The author is an anesthesiologist.