08/25/2008 12:12 pm ET Updated May 25, 2011

Phrases to Resist (I)

There are many everyday phrases that we need to resist. We have already touched on #1 worst phrase - "It's_____Fault!" The next common phrase we must resist (for our own good) is: "Why the hell don't we have ______?"

Think about the most frequent mistake made in medicine: drug errors. It has been well documented that every patient is subjected to at least one medication mistake per hospital stay, Hearing this, we are tempted to shout: "Why the hell don't we have a computer program that prevents over-dosing, allergic reactions, and adverse drug interactions?"

There are many reasons why we don't have a medication safety system. Listing these reasons may be emotionally satisfying but gets us no closer to having what we want: protection.

President Kennedy did not whine why don't we have a man on the moon? He said: "We will put a man on the moon in ten years." And nine years later we did, even though when he said it, it was impossible.

We need to go right past "why don't we have ______" and state exactly what we want in health care and in everything else for that matter.

Problem: Patients frequently get the wrong drugs. RESIST: Why don't we have_____!? Say: We want an automatic, not human-dependent system that prevents harm from the drugs that are supposed to help.

: Patients can be injured while receiving health care, but only those who sue successfully get compensation. RESIST: Why don't we have_____!? Say: Create a system that helps all injured patients, not just some.

Problem: There aren't enough doctors and nurses. RESIST: Why don't we have_____!? Say: Change things so that people want to enter and to stay in healthcare.

We spend entirely too much time complaining and arguing about WHY don't we have something - time that would be better spent stating clearly and precisely what it is we DO want.

What do you think?