Qual Health Care 9:142 doi:10.1136/qhc.9.2.142
  • Book review

Ernest Amory Codman: the End Result of a Life in Medicine.

  1. Duncan Neuhauser
  1. Professor of Health Management, The Charles Elton Blanchard Medical School, Case Western University, 10900 Euclid Ave, Clevland, Ohio 44106-3622, USA

      An editorial in the New York Times of 28 December 1999 praises the US Veterans Administration (VA) hospital system for publicly reporting their medical errors. The VA reported 3000 medical mistakes resulting in 700 patient deaths during the 18 months up to the start of 1999. There will be strong pressure for all US hospitals to follow this painful path of public admission of error in spite of the threat of litigation. This expectation will not stop at the borders of the USA.

      Ernest Amory Codman, MD (1869–1940) has already “been there and done that”. He created his own “End Result Hospital” in Boston, Massachusetts, 1911–1917 where errors in diagnosis and treatment were recorded for every patient, all patients were followed years after discharge to evaluate the end results of care, and all this was publicly reported in the hospital's annual report. For example: “Patient #18, Feb. 11, 1912. Female 38. Intermittent right-sided abdominal pain and …

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