Oversight

Time and again the medical community has demonstrated that it cannot be trusted to oversee patient safety

In 1904 an obscure Vanderbilt University Professor of Biology, Abraham Flexner, PhD, agreed to undertake a study of medical schools in the United States. Originally they had tried to find a medical doctor to do the study, but none could be found who would do it. That says worlds about patient safety. Physicians will not do what needs to be done to protect patients.

Dr. Flexner visited every medical school in the United States and concluded that roughly half of them served no useful purpose. As a result half of them were closed. Physicians would not police themselves then and they will not police themselves now. If they would have done it then, it would not have been necessary to for someone from the outside to clean up that mess for them. Half of the medical schools were turning out dangerous incompetents and the community of physicians did nothing to stop it.

Today the situation is no better. Yes, medical schools are better, but ineptitude and unfriendly practice are protected at the expense of patients. The loyalty of physicians to each other and concern about their own careers are greater than their interest in protecting patients, as examples elsewhere on this site show.

Healthcare providers want outside oversight of those who provide to them
Patients need the same thing of healthcare providers

From
The New York Times
By BARRY MEIER
Published: April 27, 2006
A major medical group called yesterday for sweeping changes in how the medical device industry and the government oversee implanted heart devices, and urged companies to use outside experts to help them decide when to issue alerts about potential safety problems in products.  . . .
"Manufacturers are in the best position to evaluate their own devices," the medical group wrote in its report yesterday. "However, a concern with this system is that the evaluation of the devices and the recommendations for actions by those within the company involves an inherent conflict of interest that could affect the outcome." . . .
"When you are a member of the team, it is hard not to think about the interests of the team rather than looking at the bigger picture," said Dr. Robert J. Myerburg, a professor of medicine at the University of Miami who headed the Guidant panel.

(At the time of this writing, the article was available from the New York Times on their site at this link).

What physicians want of the people providing to them is what patients want of physicians. There is an inherent conflict of interest on the part of healthcare providers when the safety of patients is concerned. Someone loyal to patients must be in a position to protect patients or errors and crimes in medicine will not improve in important ways. Physicians are so used to thinking of themselves and their colleagues as saints that they take umbrage at such thoughts. That is on of the reasons they cannot be in charge of patient safety.

Someone else will have to be in charge, someone whose livelihood is not improved by not doing the job (see autopsy).