When I was in my medical training I was astonished one day, when I made my morning rounds, to meet G, a research mentor and dear friend, walking down the corridor dressed in a hospital gown. He was diagnosed having acoustic neuroma, a benign growth on his acoustic nerve.
G opted to get his surgery done at a New York medical center, where a well-known surgeon specializing in acoustic neuroma surgery was based.
Pat Mastors, a patient safety advocate, has written aclever blog post called, “A Few More Minutes with Andy Rooney.” Channeling the curmudgeonly tones of a 60 Minutes commentary, it begins:
I died last week, just a month after I said goodbye to you all from this very desk. I had a long and happy life – well, as happy as a cranky old guy could ever be. 92. Not bad. And gotta say, seeing my Margie, and Walter, and all my old friends again is great.
But then I read what killed me: “serious complications following minor surgery.”
Now what the heck is that?
The blog goes on to have Rooney ask for someone to find out what actually killed him. This has offended some respondents who, blinded by their own biases, think a writer using a celebrity’s death to push for information that could be used to improve care is the same thing as accusing his physicians of negligence or hauling Rooney’s family into court to publicly disclose private details.