A Healthy Dose of Pragmatism
In health care and medicine, mistakes are sometimes made. Unintentionally amputating the wrong foot; whoops. Erroneously injecting three times the proper dosage of penicillin; sorry about that. Incorrectly mailing Mr. Matoro a mammography appointment reminder; beg your pardon.
Accidents happen in all kinds of health and medical centers, and they’ll continue to happen. Wrong patient, wrong drug, wrong time, wrong test. There’ll always be some relatively inexperienced clinicians, new procedures, the need for urgent decisions and urgent care.
Some hard-liners and purists argue that with enough trained staff and safeguards, sufficient willpower and leadership, and perhaps even a dash of faith, slips and errors could not only be reduced, but effectively eradicated. They enjoy believing that if you can imagine a world without mistakes, then that world is possible. Yet they’re incorrectly conflating possibility with probability. Just because something’s possible, doesn’t mean it’s probable.
Following that train of thought, medical boo-boos and miscalculations and oversights, even life-threatening ones, can be lessened, mitigated, assuaged. They can never be eliminated altogether.
Pragmatism in health care is crucial. What we need is sensible, realistic solutions. We don’t need perfectionists who call for zero tolerance policies.
Over the past few months, as part of my work with Big Think, I’ve been honored to work on interviews with numerous health care experts. They are no-nonsense, down-to-earth individuals. And their ideas, though confronting and possibly even counterintuitive, are important.
Here are my personal recommendations ...
By Lee Bob Black.
Here's the science of black holes, from supermassive monsters to ones the size of ping-pong balls.
- There's more than one way to make a black hole, says NASA's Michelle Thaller. They're not always formed from dead stars. For example, there are teeny tiny black holes all around us, the result of high-energy cosmic rays slamming into our atmosphere with enough force to cram matter together so densely that no light can escape.
- CERN is trying to create artificial black holes right now, but don't worry, it's not dangerous. Scientists there are attempting to smash two particles together with such intensity that it creates a black hole that would live for just a millionth of a second.
- Thaller uses a brilliant analogy involving a rubber sheet, a marble, and an elephant to explain why different black holes have varying densities. Watch and learn!
- Bonus fact: If the Earth became a black hole, it would be crushed to the size of a ping-pong ball.
Protected animals are feared to be headed for the black market.
In a breakthrough for nuclear fusion research, scientists at China's Experimental Advanced Superconducting Tokamak (EAST) reactor have produced temperatures necessary for nuclear fusion on Earth.
- The EAST reactor was able to heat hydrogen to temperatures exceeding 100 million degrees Celsius.
- Nuclear fusion could someday provide the planet with a virtually limitless supply of clean energy.
- Still, scientists have many other obstacles to pass before fusion technology becomes a viable energy source.
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