Scared to Death: Worry about hospital errors, not pink slime


I had an article published in a California newspaper and it will hopefully be picked up by others. The headline is “Scared to Death: Worry about hospital errors, not pink slime.”

The article starts:

The public is continually subjected to health-related scares, such as food packaging and water bottles that contain BPA, a chemical that has been linked to cancer. The media also highlights food additives that aren't harmful, but just sound unappetizing, such as so-called “pink slime” in ground beef and the use of dried insects to color beverages at Starbucks.

Yet our nation's hospitals are the one place where people actually have the most reasons to be scared and to demand change.

I will provide some links and footnotes, context to the article here in this post.

I wrote about the so-called “pink slime” scare a few weeks back. That whole episode isn't a great example of scientific problem solving on a societal level. It's more a matter of hysteria. Is pink slime appetizing? Not really. But neither are chicken nuggets, hot dogs, and other products that I personally try to avoid.

I wrote another post comparing the deaths from “pink slime” (none that we know of) to deaths from preventable medical mistakes (100,000 a year) and hospital-acquired infections (another 100,000 or so).

See more links and data about medical harm here.


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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.

  1. Mark Graban says

    Here is a Northern California CEO’s blog post on this topic:

  2. […] a big outcry over pink slime consumed by humans, but this is an example of how animals – many of whom are considered family members – […]

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