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Medical Malpractice Book Review


The Life You Save:


Nine Steps to Finding the Best Medical Care - and Avoiding the Worst


by Patrick Malone David J. Wildberger


“The sound patients make when they fall off the earth is so quiet that hardly anyone can hear it.”


S


o eloquently begins Patrick Malone’s latest book, Te Life You Save: Nine Steps to Finding the Best Medical Care - and Avoiding the Worst. Malone,


an accomplished trial lawyer (MAJ member) and former journalist, has numerous previous writings to his credit, with perhaps the best known of the efforts being Rules of the Road: A Plaintiff Lawyer’s Guide to Proving Liability, (Trial Guides, 2006), co-authored with Rick Friedman. In Rules of the Road, Malone instructed trial lawyers on the methods of investigating, pleading and proving theories of liability. A worthy goal well met. In Te Life You Save, Malone instructs the general public in the ways to avoid becoming one of the hundreds of thousands of people who fall victim of avoidable medical errors each year. As legal advocates for victims and the families of victims


of avoidable medical errors, we see first hand the carnage that results from avoidable medical errors. Knowing fully that we cannot change the past, we try our best to make the future less bleak for the survivors of those errors. Most of the time, we never know whether our efforts make a difference for people other than our clients going forward, so shielded from our view is the peer review process. Every once in a while, however, we may actually get an affirmation that our efforts


cause changes in attitude and practice among the medical community that may actually save lives. I had a case not too long ago in which a physical therapist, who had clearly missed the signs and symptoms of a deep vein thrombosis that turned into a fatal pulmonary embolism, told me that since the filing of our case she had become much more aware of those signs and symptoms, and had, in fact, alerted a physician to the likely presence of a DVT in one of her patients. Te patient’s DVT was diagnosed and treated before it could propagate into a fatal PE. Tat day, I felt that I had made a prospective difference in the life of someone I would never meet. Tis is what Patrick Malone has attempted to accomplish in Te Life You Save.


As the sub-title of the book states, Malone provides nine steps he suggests every patient take to avoid medical mistakes before they become tragedies. He provides vignettes from cases as examples of how errors occur and how they can be avoided. Some of his steps are so obvious that they seem to hardly need stating. He admonishes that one should “learn how to talk to your doctor efficiently and effectively.”


Trial Reporter / Summer 2010 53


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