Recent Newspaper & Online Columns by Kate Scannell MD

Ebola virus and our epidemic of fear

August 20, 2014

Tags: Ebola, fear, media fear mongering, mixed messages, Emory University Hospital, CDC, Z-mapp, ethics

By Dr. Kate Scannell, Syndicated columnist
First published in print: 08/16/2014

I spent last week with an elderly, housebound friend -- and Ebola. Ebola virus everywhere! Ebola sneaking into the U.S.! Ebola lurking under our beds!

My friend, near 90-years old, was watching a 24-hour news station and becoming increasingly upset by fear-mongering and anxiety-amping commentary concerning the Ebola outbreak in Africa. In his small Midwest living room where he had lived for six decades and endured many of life's great tribulations, he was feeling increasingly fearful about Ebola. (more…)

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VA scandal shows we must speak up about the deadly silences in health care

August 6, 2014

Tags: deadly silence, healthcare, VA scandal, Shuttle Columbia, medical mistakes, speak up, patient safety, veterans administration

By Dr. Kate Scannell, Syndicated clumnist
First published in print: 08/03/2014

What does "patient safety" have to do with the catastrophic 2003 explosion of the space shuttle Columbia, killing all seven of its crew members?

A lot, according to patient-safety experts. They regularly discuss the Columbia disaster as a classic case study of the potential for silence to kill -- whether in an organization like the National Aeronautical Space Administration (NASA) or a large health care system like the VA. Silence, it's been shown repeatedly, can be deadly not only when individuals don't speak up about problems risking human safety, but also when organizations silence those who do. (more…)

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