Seeding a Simple Dream: Do No Harm
You have talked about how helpless you felt when someone close to you was hospitalized-even as a physician, you couldn't protect her from medication errors. Have things changed?
There would be no difference today. The average hospital is not yet committed from the boardroom and the executive level to the kind of order-of-magnitude changes and the level of safety and reliability that would make the experience of the patient fundamentally different. I wish I could say otherwise.
But thousands of hospitals have enlisted in at least one of your initiatives.
It's the difference between the first step and a completed journey. The real result will be when you can go to an American hospital and have confidence that you will not be hurt.
Will that happen eventually?
I used to think it would be in my lifetime. Now I'm not so sure.
Your days must be long and hectic. At the end of the day, can you still function?
It depends whether I'm traveling. Travel is absolutely exhausting to me-the airplanes and security lines and hotels and the inefficiency of moving my body around the country or the world. If I'm not traveling, I have energy to spare. Do you know the New York Review of Books? I'm addicted. I mean, if you say OK, Don, here's a half-hour you never expected to have. What do you want to do with it? I would die for that magazine and just read the next article in it.