Focus on reducing medical errors

March 1, 2011

The author tackles the issue of medical errors from a unique perspective.

This attempt at an encore was ill-fated. A land force that disembarked from the fleet was met by American sharpshooters and the general in charge was promptly killed. The British armada, with military technology far ahead of the United States, sailed unopposed until it reached Fort McHenry, which guarded the route to Baltimore. Because the warships had cannons that could shoot a greater distance, the British were content to lie at anchor out of range of the Americans and mercilessly pound the fort into submission with a ceaseless barrage. If the "limeys" tried to get past, the fort's batteries commenced firing and stopped them. The British sailed away, carrying an American diplomat, Francis Scott Key, who wrote a poem (later put to music) to record the experience. As we approach the 200th year of the event, the British Navy has yet to try again. Baltimore remains secure but vigilant.

This local vignette occurred to me the other day while listening to Christina Aguilera sing "The Star-Spangled Banner" before the Super Bowl. She has a fine voice and is now blonde, both positives, but she messed up the lyrics and the reviews of her performance were brutal.

Aguilera, from Pittsburgh, apologized, saying that she "got caught up in the moment."

The TV news here in Baltimore followed a segment about the Aguilera snafu with an advertisement from a law firm. "Millions of Americans are injured or die as the result of medical errors," said the spokesperson. "If you or a loved one think you might have been the victim of the medical mistake, contact us. We'll fight for you and get you the compensation you deserve."