Bad doctors in a broken system (Relax, if you’re one of the good ones, you’re fine)

I’ve had the disabling neuro-immuno illness Myalgic Encephalomyelitis for 30 years and I’ve had Papillary Carcinoma, a form of thyroid cancer, for roughly four years.

When I first became ill in 1991, I had tremendous faith in physicians and the medical establishment.



To borrow a line from the film A League of Their Own, “I have seen enough to know I have seen too much.”

In recent years, as I’ve written my second book Side Effects May Vary and myriad essays for The Washington Post Health and Science section–I’m finishing my 12th piece right now–I’ve been devastated to witness and document countless material errors at several medical clinics in Seattle, where I’ve lived my whole life.

And the clinicians in question know I’m a well-connected white woman, which begs the question, If they’re repeatedly endangering my health and safety, how the hell are they treating everyone else?

I’ll be addressing all of this and more as we proceed here with Bad Doctors in a Broken System (Relax, If You’re One of the Good Ones, You’re Fine).

This would be an apt time to underscore one of the central tenets of American jurisprudence: It’s not defamatory if it’s true. I take contemporaneous notes–and, when possible, photos–and can handily demonstrate that each word I write here is true.

Also, if you’re unfamiliar with the seminal 2016 Johns Hopkins study that found that medical errors are the third leading cause of death in the United States, just behind heart disease and cancer, I highly recommend reading NPR’s overview:

And away we go.