For the editor:

Re “When does a nurse’s mistake become a crime?” by Daniela J. Lamas (opinion guest essay, Sunday Review, April 17):

While systems absolutely must improve to prevent medical errors, one of the most relevant factors of errors that Dr. Lamas alludes to repeatedly should not be ignored: “overworked doctors and nurses” who “juggle several very stressful tasks”.

People want affordable access to excellent health care. And we want our nurses and doctors to be healthy, well rested and focused on us. So why do we expect them to care for so many patients and for such long hours? Why do we work them to breaking point? The answer: the bottom line.

Yes, we require systems checks for all procedures. We also need nurses and doctors who have the time to listen to and assess our patients, and the time to review diagnostic and treatment plans. For this to happen, we need to stop seeing health care as a source of profit for insurance companies, pharmaceutical companies, and healthcare corporations.

We must prioritize human health, not corporate wealth. The health of all of us is at stake: patients, doctors and nurses.

Nancy Bermon
Nyack, NY
The author is a family physician and assistant professor at the Center for Family and Community Medicine at Columbia University.

For the editor:

As graduate nursing students, we learn about multi-step medication safety checks, performed under the daunting eyes of our clinical instructors. At my institution, we watch a heartbreaking video of a parent describing the pain of losing their child to a medication error, an educational experience that leaves students terrified – at best – and more often than not traumatized. We arrive at work exhausted from our studies and terrified of making the same mistakes that surely haunt RaDonda Vaught, the nurse who administered the wrong drug and was convicted of negligent homicide.

As noted by Dr. Daniela J. Lamas, this terror instills an attitude of constant vigilance and personal responsibility that exhausts and reduces critical thinking, as numerous studies of toxic stress have shown. Yet the medical system has no answers to handle the immense responsibility of this role and the need to fail without issue as part of the learning cycle.

Without a systemic response to the well-documented drivers of medical errors and workarounds, such as high patient-nurse ratios and unfair liability for such errors imposed on the RN, we will see more experienced nurses leave the field. .

Mags Hines
Oakland, California.
The author is a student at the UCSF School of Nursing.

For the editor:

Dr. Daniela J. Lamas’ support for better systems to reduce medical errors is straight to the point. For example, the now universally practiced operating room “down time”, a brief pause before the start of the operation to confirm that the correct procedure is about to be performed on the correct patient and to allow anyone in the operating room to voice their concerns, has dramatically reduced site errors and other preventable surgical errors.

However, there is another reality that must be emphasized and strongly emphasized when judging medical errors: medical professionals are human, and where humans are involved, errors will inevitably occur. When human error becomes a criminal offence, we are all in trouble, and not just in the area of ​​health care delivery.

Mitchell Stein
Scarsdale, NY
The author is an ophthalmologist.

For the editor:

Regarding “The Invisible Scars of Remote Control Murder” (front page, April 17):

The evolution of military weaponry must become more destructive, more indiscriminate and vaguely impersonal. The slogan “destroy the enemy’s will to fight”, often accompanied by dehumanizing propaganda, became the justification during World War II for the large-scale destruction of non-military targets and the slaughter of non-combatants. It was possible because it was done remotely, impersonally.

But drones have made warfare personal, humanized the enemy, challenged the moral sense of the operator, often destroyed his self-image and – in the case of Captain Kevin Larson, recounted in the article – cost his life.

Unfortunately, we have come to accept him as another casualty of war.

K.Neal Snyder
Columbus, Ohio
The author is a retired Air Force Colonel.

For the editor:

Regarding “The Culture Wars Have Gone Global”, by David Brooks (column, Sunday Review, April 10):

After decades of pundits selling us the democratizing magic of globalization, it turns out that much of the world actively rejects Western values. But that should come as no surprise.

The world is big. It is filled with the diversity that the West claims to value. As globalization progresses, it naturally adapts to the culture — and values ​​— of the country that adopts it.

To assume that China, for example, would somehow resemble the West and embrace its democratic values ​​in response to globalization ignores the power of culture and reflects Western bias.

It is not because our values ​​have been rejected somewhere that globalization is dead. Technology ensures that globalization will continue to progress, but its progress will be independent of our values, and according to the values ​​of the cultures participating in its march. The failure of globalization, if there is one, lies in the West’s assumption that globalization looks and feels Western.

The irony is that the word “globalization” itself implies an embrace of all things and in many ways, not just the Western way.

Dean Foster
The author is the founder and president of Dean Foster Global Cultures, an advisory organization for businesses working globally.

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