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Patient Safety
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White wall
    of Silence
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Trust Us
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Crime in
Sexual Abuse
Free Speech
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Medical errors

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Thomas Jefferson said that given the choice between government without newspapers and newspapers without government, he would choose to have newspapers.

In medicine we have government without newspapers. Patients cannot find out what they need to know to make informed choices. No one in medicine records or reports the information patients need to know the most. So patients will have to.


Rough Draft / Under Construction

Aaron didn't believe in conspiracies. Generally speaking his mother didn't either, but she undermined her own credibility sometimes. One of the things making it difficult for his family to take his mom's stance on healthcare seriously was her stance on other issues, like one particular family finance issue. The government had not made provisions for people to create tax exempt college funds yet, but his father and grandfather had wanted to provide for that and had put money in each of the children's names. Each of the children had trusts and bank accounts specifically intended for college.

A family with whom Aaron's father had a business relationship owned Empire Bank. His father said that they should move all of their accounts to that bank for how it would help relations with that family. His mother did not want too. There were discussions and reasons and concerns offered, but slowly it became apparent that her problem was that the family was Catholic. She didn't want "the Catholics" to know so much about their finances.

When John F. Kennedy was running for office, there had been murmurs about whether Kennedy would have to check with the Pope before making certain decisions, but worrying about that mostly was thought to be paranoid even more than was worrying about communists being behind putting fluoride in the water. His father was taken aback. It was another moment Aaron never would forget - the look in his father's eye at the moment his father realized what his wife was worried about. He almost laughed. He almost made a joke. Aaron's mom knew him well enough to see that and said something stern about it that caused him to wince. Aaron was holding a steak knife in his hand but had stopped cutting his meat. Dad was out of arguments for this one. And Mom was serious.

She could interrupt his financial planning, but only temporarily. When he got to the office, he made final decisions without telling her. When told her he had done that with this one, and now all of their money was at Empire Bank, he had just come in the back door. They were in the kitchen. He was in his suit. She had been working in the kitchen and turned back to her work saying, "Don't say I didn't try to stop you."

A year later Aaron was in the living room telling his mom about the new family moving in across the way. He had been over and met the parents and the kids. He told them what Mr. Whistler did for a living and what their mother looked like and sounded like and what she had said. He described each of their children. He hadn't gotten all of their ages, but if you wanted to know any detail about how they walked or talked or laughed, he could tell you. He wasn't good at remembering what they wore, but conversations and the funny things and the surprising things, like smelling alcohol on Mrs. Whistler's breath, and the slurred way she spoke and walked, but how she talked to him like he was an adult who could answer her questions about practical things accurately, all of that he could recount in detail. His mom was used to this from him and waited for his stories. She liked his stories. And he knew she did. From the time he could talk, she was the best audience a person could ask for.

His mom was that way with other children too. Especially babies. A baby in a grocery cart waiting in line would find his mom bending down to it saying, "Tell me all about. Tell me your story." The baby would gurgle and laugh and loving the attention. So when Aaron came home from meeting the new neighbors, he was ready to smile and talk for as long as she wanted about everything he had observed. When he got done, quietly she asked, "Five children?"

And there was placed another bookmark in his mind, another freeze frame of a moment, but this time not a question waiting for an answer. It was the answer. In the last few months, three new families had moved into the neighborhood. Each of them had a daughter one year younger than Aaron. Each of those daughters was blonde. Each of them was cute. One of them, the one they had nicknamed AhEeAh, was so cute that even thirty years later, looking at an old Super 8 home movie that included a few moments of her, he wondered how any of the boys in that neighborhood slept at night with her so close by in her own bedroom with a window on the ground floor.

"Yes. Five."

And he realized for the first time that each of the new families was Catholic. Each had moved there within one year of the money being put in a Catholic bank. At this moment that he realized what his mom was seeing each time one of those families moved in. She hadn't asked that question before. Nothing about this had crossed the minds of anyone else in the family. If he had been going to say anything, he would have had to admit that it was peculiar and amazingly coincidental, but he also would have said that it was crazy and paranoid. The Catholics could not be calling each other up to arrange these things. It just was crazy. So he didn't say anything. But it was an important moment in the increasing awareness of who and what his mother was, and it didn't lend credibility or reasonableness to other positions of hers.

He didn't tell Bobby the source of the crazy thought, only that there was a rumor in the neighborhood that these Catholic families had moved in so that their daughters could marry rich kids. Bobby's house was 150 years old and five stories tall. Bobby's own bedroom was bigger than the living rooms of most of the houses in America. The thought of Catholic girls moving in to get their money made him smile. "So we're prey?" All boys their age were looking for any advantage they could get in that game and this was funny. Bobby cracked that if it could result in getting one glimpse of AhEeeAh naked, he'd become a Priest.

AhEeeAh's real name was Mary Jane. At that time in their circles there was no awareness of what marijuana was and so her name did not get distorted into a nickname having to do with that. They were aware of "Me Tarzan. You Jane." When she moved into the neighborhood they addressed her by beating their chests and making the AaaahhEeeeeAaah call that Tarzan made but ended it with "Me Tarzan. You Mary Jane." Soon, without beating chests or increasing volume, it was just AhEeeAh. Even some of her siblings called her AhEeeAh - the youngest of the dozen, the ones who grew up with it.

It was an excellent sound to whisper. It was sensuous when whispered, which he did on occasion through her screen window in the middle of the night. Sneaking to AhEeeAh's bedroom window at night required circumventing the yard of the Whites. The Whites lived next door on her side of the house. They were not friendly people. Their two sons were older than most of the other kids in the neighborhood, but they had nothing to do with anyone in the neighborhood and were dismissive and unkind to the other kids. Aaron wasn't sure his own parents ever had met Mr. and Mrs. White. He himself never had seen Mrs. White. He avoided their yard. They didn't like people in their yard. After dark one evening, Aaron and some others were running playing a game when they crossed the White's backyard and Mr. White ran out threatening to call the police. Both of their sons grew up to be doctors.

Many years later, Aaron was sitting in the Colorado Medical Facility at an appointment with Dr. White wondering on which side of their house his bedroom had been. Had this man realized he could look out a window and possibly see what Aaron had had to climb over fences and through thorns and weeds to try to see? Making window dates with AaEeAh to whisper through her screen in the middle of the night was not easy to schedule. She shared a bedroom with a younger sister. It had to happen on certain nights at certain times when she would be alone. He got there early hoping to catch her dressing. If he'd lived in Dr. White's house overlooking that window, he wondered if he ever would have done anything but look.

Dr. White showed no recognition of his and Aaron's having been neighbors. He did not really look at Aaron. He appeared completely disinterested in his existence. So Aaron did not make neighborhood chat with him and did not joke about how many boys in the neighborhood would have liked to have traded places with him.

He almost had joked about AhEeeAh with his mom, but didn't want to do anything to bring the subject to the front of her mind. So far he had gotten away with sneaking out at night when everyone was asleep. He wasn't sure how much his parents would care about his sneaking out. Maybe they knew and just didn't say anything. But he was afraid she would not like who he was sneaking out to see. His eventual marriage had been on his mother's mind since the day he was born. The first time she saw him, a nurse asked her what she thought. Upon seeing that he was boy, she said that she was going to start right then trying to be a good mother-in-law. She had started something like a hope chest for him when he still was a cub scout. Numerous times she had said to him that she would love whoever he decided to marry. This was never followed by a negative qualification, except for one time. Usually it was followed by something meant to instruct him on how to be better or more obedient or more well prepared for the day when he would have a wife and a home and a family, except for one time. One time, when no one was around, and knowing how dangerous it was to make such a statement, she said that she would love whoever he married, but she would prefer it if it were not a Roman Candle.

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Medical Novel Table of Contents

Persons, places, events, and situations in this story are purely fictional.
Any resemblance to actual persons, living or dead, is coincidental.

Rough Draft / Under Construction


Home | Table of Contents | It's a Path
Silence versus Patient Safety
Loyalty versus Patient Safety
The White Wall of Silence versus Patient Safety
Blacklisting Patients
Freedom of Speech for Patients
Medical Complaints - How to

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It's a path

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