“How doctors and patients do harm.” By Tara Parker-Pope, New York Times Well Blog

Just how broken is the United States health care system? Dr. Otis Brawley, chief medical officer for the American Cancer Society, paints a grim picture in his new book written with Paul Goldberg,  “How We Do Harm: A Doctor Breaks Ranks About Being Sick In America’’ (St. Martin’s Press). If the title alone doesn’t clue you in, the reader quickly discovers that Dr. Brawley is determined to make everyone as uncomfortable as possible about the flaws, inconsistencies and inequities that are rampant in American medical care.

Pope interviews Brawley, asking the following questions:

  1. What prompted you to write this book?
  2. Can you describe an experience you’ve had with irrational health care?
  3. But in reading the book, you don’t just blame doctors for being greedy. You blame patients for being gluttonous. Can you explain?
  4. The story about the woman whose breast fell off was horrible. What were you trying to tell us with that example?
  5. In the book, you talk about a conversation with a hospital marketing executive who talks about drumming up business with free prostate cancer screenings at a mall health fair. How did that affect you?
  6. Is there any hope that things might improve someday?

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