BOOK REVIEW – UNACCOUNTABLE – What Hospitals Won’t Tell you…

April 29th, 2013 by Gallagher John 5 Comments

I just recently completed Unaccountable by Marty Makary. M.D..  The book was a gift and I was fascinated by this read.  The subtitle says it all:  “What Hospitals Won’t Tell You and How Transparency Can Revolutionize Health Care”.


I have now worked in Health Care as a Lean consultant for about 3 years.  As I read through the book, I could certainly attach to some of the stories through my experiences as a consultant, as well as being a consumer of health care.  Fact is… the book could even be described as a bit disturbing.  Did you know:

  • Medical Mistakes are the fifth leading cause of death in the United States?
  • The number of patients killed by PREVENTABLE medical errors every year is equivalent to four jumbo jets crashing ever week?
  • In a typical doctor visit, the patient is interrupted after an average of just 8 seconds?
  • As many as 25 percent of all hospitalized patients will experience a preventable medical error of some kind?
  • There are fifteen hundred hospitals that administer a safety survey to their staff asking the question:”Would you have your operation at the hospital in which you work?” – Why isn’t this data available to you as a consumer?

These are just a few of the statistics exposed in the book.  I can imagine that the doctor and provider community may have been upset with Dr. Makary’s accounts described in the book.  I appreciate the sharing.

Reading books like this and experiencing poor health care are a few of the reasons that I chose to do what I currently do.  If the work I do in coaching and consulting with Health Care executives saves just one life in the long run, the challenges associated with the work are worth it.

What do you feel when you read some of the statistics above?  Comment and I may select you to receive a copy of the book.

  • Celeste Conlan

    Wow!! I have worked in Health Care most of my life and these statistic arevery scary. I knew that mistakes were made and I have had to pick up the pieces a few times because of them but this “data” is real! All I really can say is WOW!

    Thanks John for all your words of wisdom, I am so glad that you share all this with the world!

  • Celeste, I haven’t even scratched the surface with some of the data in this book. This is exactly whey we do what we do! It must change…quickly. Thanks for the feedback. John

  • John, I’ve read articles about “secrets” your doctor doesn’t want you to know. Likely Reader’s Digest. But, I didn’t realize it was this significant. What a way to cause anxiety particularly because as a patient, you don’t feel you have much choice. You certainly don’t have the data to base simple decisions. With social media and websites now popping up to rate doctors, we may start to shed light in new places.

  • Skip, I do believe htat with social media and websites, it will increase transparency. As consumers, we must demand it. I do believe transparency is an are where regulators can help. Thanks for the feedback.

  • Jagadeesh

    Dear SIr
    I appreciate your book review as it highlights the lesser known facts. I am currently looking for book reviews on books related to management and professional areas. This will be considered for publication in our institute’s SDM IMD Journal of Management. Please visit I reuqest your contribution to our journal.