Dr. Peter J. Pronovost (an anesthesiologist and critical care specialist) is the medical director of the Quality and Safety Research Group at Johns Hopkins Hospital in Baltimore, which means he leads that institution’s quest for safer ways to care for its patients. Dr. Pronovost has just published a book titled, Safe Patients, Smart Hospitals: How One Doctor’s Checklist Can Help Us Change Health Care from the Inside Out.” The book is a must read if you or a family member are heading to you local hospital.

A few years ago, after seeing a toddler die from substandard care, Dr. Pronovost set out to change the way hospitals function. His book makes a strong case for dramatic change to the way patients are cared for in the hospital setting. Too often, Dr. Pronovost writes, doctors “think they are infallible, communication between nurses and doctors is poor and accountability is virtually non-existent.” He notes that doctors aren’t trained to listen to nurses, family members, or anyone else. “Medicine operates like a private club of self-styled deities where the entrance requirement is an M.D.”

Dr. Pronovost’s proposes a two-fold strategy for bringing health care closer to the standards of aviation: first, simple but rigorous checklists designed to deliver proven treatments and procedures; and second, a cultural makeover aimed at tearing down the traditional hospital hierarchy that makes nurses afraid to challenge doctors even when doctors are ordering the wrong drug or operating on the wrong limb.

It is rare for a member of the medical profession to speak so candidly about life-threatening and systemic problems with patient care in the hospital. Dr. Pronovost does just that. If you have plans to receive treatment in any of the following hospitals in Virginia…I strongly recommend reading Dr. Pronovost’s book.

Alleghany Regional Hospital; Bedford Memorial Hospital; Buchanan General Hospital; Carilion Brambleton Surgical Center; Carilion Franklin Memorial Hospital; Carilion Giles Memorial Hospital; Carilion Medical Center; Carilion New River Valley Medical Center; Carilion Tazewell Community Hospital; Center for Restorative Care and Rehabilitation; Centra Health; Clinch Valley Medical Center; Danville Regional Medical Center; Dickenson Community Hospital; Johnston Memorial Hospital; Lee Regional Medical Center; Lewis-Gale Medical Center; Memorial Hospital of Martinsville & Henry County; Montgomery Regional Hospital; Mountain View Regional Medical Center; New River Valley Surgery Center; Norton Community Hospital; Piedmont Day Surgery Center; Pioneer Community Hospital of Patrick County, Inc.; Pulaski Community Hospital; Roanoke Ambulatory Surgical Center; Russell County Medical Center; Smyth County Community Hospital; Surgery Center of Lynchburg; Twin County Regional Hospital; Wellmont Lonesome Pine Hospital; Wythe County Community Hospital

Dan Frith
Dan Frith

Dan Frith has over 25 years of experience representing individuals and families in cases of medical malpractice throughout Virginia. He has been named "Best Medical Malpractice Attorney" by Roanoker Magazine and is a member of the Million Dollar Advocates Forum. To speak with Dan, contact him by email at