Updated: Glenn Beck’s Surgery Gone "Horribly Awry"


This is compelling video (scroll down), radio and TV talk show host Glenn Beck, talking about his surgery gone “horribly awry” and how “phenomenally bad” his hospital care was (not sure what the procedure was, but it was planned and scheduled).

Update: His version of the story from his website, 1/7/08. Will comment more on it later, the story has less to do with the surgery itself, but the after care and problems with his return visit to the Emergency Deparment.

Beck says he hopes his story will serve as a “wake up call” to the hospital CEO about what sorts of things are happening at his facility. He says the stories he will tell on Monday will “melt your brain.” Of course he's teasing his Monday radio and Headline News shows, but I'll tune in to see if he shares more details. He was pretty cryptic about what happened, but claimed the pain drove him to the point of being suicidal. His website says:

“Well it all started out fine. How it all ended with me in the hospital for 5 days and sent home with patches they give people (I found out later) who are at ‘end of life' for pain is a journey I would like to forget, but know I won't anytime soon.”

Take a look at the first minute or two at least… I wonder what happened to him? Something more process oriented than normal surgical complications? A preventable medical error or errors? Beck mentions he had some great physicians and great nurses — that's not at all inconsistent with most medical errors, as most errors are caused by bad processes and systems. Deming stated that and respected research on patient safety has shown the same thing.

If you want to learn more about the “Lean” concept and how it's helping in healthcare, check out the links below the post or my “What is Lean?” page… it's not just for Toyota and for cars.

Anyway, best wishes for a speedy recovery, Glenn.

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Mark Graban is an internationally-recognized consultant, author, and professional speaker who has worked in healthcare, manufacturing, and startups. His latest book is Measures of Success: React Less, Lead Better, Improve More. He is author of the Shingo Award-winning books Lean Hospitals and Healthcare Kaizen, as well as The Executive Guide to Healthcare Kaizen. He also published the anthology Practicing Lean that benefits the Louise H. Batz Patient Safety Foundation, where Mark is a board member. Mark is also a Senior Advisor to the technology company KaiNexus.

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