A Storm’s A Brewin


With hurricane Sandy quickly approaching the East coast, it is hard not to wonder why these storms are coming in stronger and later than ever. The Chicago Tribune published an article today examining the factors contributing to these “super storms” and all facts point to global warming.

Amanda Staudt, a climate scientist for the National Wildlife Federation, explains that climate change is not the sole cause of catastrophic weather events, but instead intensifies their damage and severity. She believes that since the Earth has become increasingly warmer, the length of hurricane season has increased, and the numbers support her conclusions. As industrial societies began burning fossil fuels “in great quantities in the late 19th century… the average global temperature has risen between 1.5 and 2 degrees Fahrenheit.” In addition, the water temperate in the Mid-Atlantic is 5 degrees higher than the average. Because of these warmer climates, out atmosphere retains 4% more moisture than it once did 40 years ago. Scientist predicts that by the end of the 21st century “hurricanes could dump 20% more rain than it does now.”

This article relates directly to the ethical and social responsibilities companies have in an effort to preserve the environment. Along with providing ethical working conditions and accurate financial statements, companies should use environmentally friendly resources and dispose of their products in a safe way. It is the manager’s duty to ensure their business is not harming people or the environment in any way.

Alternatively, city officials of New York, New Jersey, and other large cities on the East coast are taking every precautionary measure to ensure people stay safe during hurricane Sandy. Officials have closed down the entire subway system in New York, hired additional electricians from all around the US, and canceled hundreds of flights and trains to and from LaGuardia.

I find this forecasting to be a great sign of successful management by the city officials, but what do you think? Do you feel that they are over-hyping this storm, like many believe happened last year with hurricane Irene? Will the increase of this ‘Super Storms’ encourage companies to become greener?


Dr. Hands of Death and Destruction

Warning: This article is not for the faint of heart. I had heard of unfortunate and grotesque situations such as these, but this article shocked me. Marty Makary, a Harvard medical student (now surgeon) published an article for the Wall Street Journal titled “How to Stop Hospitals from Killing Us.” In this article, he discusses the enormously high percentages of mistakes, mix-ups, and fatalities hospitals make on a daily basis!

Makary says that on average, U.S. surgeons will operate on the wrong body part 40 times per week. Granted, we do not know how many patients a surgeon may see in a given week, but 40 times seems like a pretty high number to me. Furthermore, he uncovered that one-quarter of all patients will be harmed due to medical errors. If those medical errors were turned in to a “disease,” they would be the 6th deadliest disease in our nation, killing 100,000 people a year. After reading this article, I followed up on a recent video-interview done by Makary and the WSJ. In his interview Makary said that the statistics were done nearly a decade ago, and the results “shocked the nation.” Unfortunately, the numbers have now increased to 200,000 and the disease would be ranked as the number 3 most deadliest!

So how is all of this happening, and why are people not being held accountable or even aware?
The main problem being identified is the lack of transparency in the hospitals, and the unspoken code all doctors have amongst each other. Makary recalls his first day during his rotations and the other resident doctors talking about a “legendary” Dr. Hodad. He was initially confused about this doctor’s publicity because he had never heard of the name, but later found out it was a nickname- standing for Hands of death and destruction. This doctor had solidified a reputation for himself as a reputable and successful surgeon, and was often requested by celebrities and praised by his patients. Although most doctors and residents new of his mistakes, they never spoke out because that was not part of the “culture.” Makary soon finds out that the hospital culture is very important and without a high reputation, most doctors would be shunned and out of work instantly.

Through his studies, Markay has identified five main steps that hospitals and doctors could take, to help eliminate this growing problem, and hold doctors more accountable for their actions. He wishes to create a better management operations system that will keep patients safer and aid them in deciding which hospital to attend. The five steps are the following: Cameras, Online dashboards for patient reviews, safety culture scores taken by nurses and doctors, open note taking by doctors, and elimination of gagging (the protection of using a doctor/hospitals name during a lawsuit).

Have you ever had or heard of an unfortunate instance while staying at a hospital? Do you believe these changes will take place, or will doctors be outraged at Markay’s studies and conclusions?