On January 10, 2002, a healthy 57-year-old man underwent a liver donation procedure that successfully resected approximately 60 percent of the right lobe of his liver in preparation for transplanting that liver into his brother, a 54-year-old man who suffered from a degenerative liver disease.
In a recent article in the New Yorker, physician Atul Gawande detailed how badly the American health-care system deals with physician error; the system, he contended, serves neither the patient nor the physician very well. But what can be done?
The first national, in-depth study of health services provided by religious communities is being undertaken by the National Council of Churches. The project will survey more than 100,000 Christian, Jewish and Muslim congregations to determine the level of health care education, delivery and advocacy being offered.
Martha was blind until four years ago, when Medicaid paid for her to have a corneal transplant. For the first time in her life she could see. Now she has a job. But with recent cuts in funding, Martha has lost her Medicaid. She can no longer afford the antirejection medicine she must take daily because of her transplant. And without the medicine she will slowly go blind.
Both doctors and patients are demoralized these days, says Arthur Frank, though neither group is aware of what the other is experiencing. Doctors are suffering discouragement and alienation instead of enjoying the hope and human connection that lured them to the profession.