Sometimes it’s Better to Punch a Bear in the Face

March 27th, 2011 by Nick Jacobs Leave a reply »

I’ve tried to avoid controversy, but since my reading audience has dropped by a few thousand readers after departing my previous CEO position a few years back, I doubt that this will cause me any more problems as a consultant than I’ve already caused by expressing my opinions in previous posts. So, for those of you who are still dependent upon me for financial support, I apologize.

This morning, I read an article in the Pittsburgh Post Gazette by John Hayes entitled “Meet Your Neighbors: The Bears,” about black bears living in Pennsylvania. The essence of the piece is that there are about 18,000 bears living among the 12,000,000 citizens of Pennsylvania, yet there are only about 1,200 bear-related complaints to authorities a year. The bigger issue, however, is that there have been no reported deaths caused by black bears. They don’t eat people.

During this same period of time, I read a post by my friend and fellow patient advocate, Dale Ann Micalizzi, referencing an article about the former president of Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center (BIDMC) in Boston, Paul Levy,  another nontraditional hospital CEO who espouses transparency. “Admiting Harm Protects Patients” is the article appearing in today’s Las Vegas Sun. In my book, Taking the Hell out of Healthcare, which Paul graciously endorsed on the cover page, we talk about patient rights, patient advocacy, and the need to have someone with you during your hospital stay to ensure that you are not going to become a statistic. In today’s article, Paul is recognized for the work that he did with his blog — a blog which I encouraged him to write and to keep writing — in which he challenged the hospitals of Boston to reveal their mistakes, to stop keeping the infection rates and other problem statistics secret.

Because he was trained as an economist and a city planner, Paul Levy was considered an outsider by his peers when he took over the troubled Deaconess hospital, but as he quickly turned it around, he did so through the eyes of an outsider. In December 2006, he published his hospital’s monthly rates of infection associated with central-line catheters, which are inserted deep into the body to rapidly administer drugs or withdraw blood. These central line infections, which can be caused by nonsterile insertion of the catheter or not removing it soon enough, are preventable. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimate 250,000 central-line infections occur annually, costing $25,000 each and claiming the lives of one in four infected patients.

Dale Ann Micalizzi (L) and Paul F. Levy (R)  - Healing Hospitals - F. Nicholas Jacobs, FACHEHe then challenged the other Boston hospitals to do the same. He was accused of self-aggrandizement, egomania, and numerous other witchcraft-like things, but the bottom line was that the number of infections went down, and they went down because the staff and employees wanted to do better and wanted them to go down.

What else happened at Beth Israel Deaconess?

• Hospital mortality of 2.5 percent, which translates to one fewer death per 40 intensive-care patients.

• Cases of ventilator-associated pneumonia, from 10-24  per month in early 2006, to zero in as many months by mid-2006.

• Total days patients spent on ventilators from 350-475 per month in early 2006 to approx. 300 by mid-2007.

• The length of an average intensive care stay from 2005 through 2009, the average stay was reduced by a day to about 3 1/2 days.

(See my previous post on outrageous claims at my prior place of employment.)

Well, in today’s article about the bears, I read that “when bear attacks occur they are generally very brief, and injuries can include scratches and bites.”  Here’s the part I had not anticipated from the bear conservation officer: “Fight back, don’t play dead.  Unlike other North American Bears, black bears don’t consider people to be food.  When it realizes what you are, or gets a painful punch in the face, it is likely to go away.” I believe it’s a useful metaphor.

If you or your organization would like to hear a CEO or two speak about patient advocacy (and way better healthcare), I’m sure I know a former teacher/musician and a former city planner who would welcome the invitation.

Patient advocacy is in your hands!

Health 2.0 Leadership (1 of 2) from Nick Jacobs, FACHE on Vimeo.



  1. Nick, you’ve identified something vital: the link between intransigence and lack of transparency. In theory, they should be separate points of failure, but they’re not. There’s a definite correlation between “We’ve always done it this way” and “None of your business.” Keep on punchin’ those (metaphorical) bears!

  2. a4850165 says:

    I’ve said that least 4850165 times. SCK was here

  3. Awesome site. Very informative and nice design. I really like your posts and your style.

  4. obvusly like yur webpage however , you hv to verify the spllng onbr /qute a fw of yur /Seveal of them are rife wth splling prοblems an I in finding itbr /vr bothersome to tell the reality howeverbr /I ill ertinly com gain all over again.

  5. awesome. very interesting.. like your angle on it

  6. You need to do excellent website, Now i’m looking at it for quite some time. I must disclose that the is one of the several blogs this i’m getting excited about to be able to fresh posts. Great work!

  7. ???????? says:

    Thanks for these tips. One thing I additionally believe is that credit cards supplying a 0% monthly interest often appeal to consumers along with zero interest, instant approval and easy online balance transfers, however beware of the main factor that will certainly void your current 0% easy street annual percentage rate and to throw you out into the terrible house quickly.

  8. Warren Smith says:

    I usually do not create a bunch of responses, however i did a few searching and wound up here ??–è?oè??????…??????? ZFCONNOR. And I actually do have 2 questions for you if you do not mind. Is it only me or does it appear like some of the comments come across as if they are left by brain dead people? And, if you are posting on other online social sites, I would like to keep up with everything new you have to post. Would you list of all of all your shared pages like your twitter feed, Facebook page or linkedin profile?

  9. Shae Baun says:

    Regardless of whether I am planning for any walk or maybe practising a fresh conference, It truly is my task to set on my dependable Adidas Adipure shoes or boots. They may be modest athletic footwear nonetheless they present you with a biggest quantity of electricity and luxury. Wander working is currently well-known also as novices could locate it a lot more thrilling and in addition advantageous in comparison to normal path operating. Piste operating supply you with extreme cardio coaching that many street working can not. The inclining and also climbing down proficient in walk jogging provides time frame and bodyweight lifting which may income body looking for bodyweight reduction and likewise muscle mass tissue sculpting. Proper jogging shoes would be the most important instruments for nearly any jogger.

  10. hi, be present obliged you your handwriting technique is superb. due set in the lead your section proceeding aol. move forward fullback in a while used for positive

  11. Remarkable! Its truly awesome paragraph, I have got much clear idea regarding from this post.|

  12. Hi, I imagine your web place might ensue having browser compatibility problems. At whatever time I acquire a look next to your web site in Trip, it looks sunny but when opportunity in Internet Explorer, it’s got approximately overlapping issues. I simply hunted to impart you a quick heads up! New than that, outstanding blog!

  13. Thank you for the auspicious writeup. It in fact was a amusement account it. Look advanced to more added agreeable from you! By the way, how can we communicate?

  14. Your Baltimore Sun’s rays, 501 N. Calvert Street Longchamp bags reet, T.A. Box 1377, Baltimore, Maryland 11 Longchamp sale 278 amp;lt;div av receiver;gt bike; amp;lt;img height=”1″ width=”1″ alt=”” src=”// have firm;guitar amp;firm;label=dSLbCJK-vwMQ5qa-3QM any Longchamp member of parliment;firm;amplifier;guid=ON rev;amp;firm;script=0 rev;lt;http://googlea Longchamp outlet nintendo amplifier;firm;rev;label=dSLb Longchamp Clutches CJK-vwMQ5qa-3QM firm;rev;amplifier;guid=ON firm;guitar amp;av receiver;script=0 amplifier;gt bike; “/ guitar amp;gt bike; firm;lt;/div amplifier;gt bike;

  15. Polskie kino says:

    I have of late happening a web locate, the info you bestow taking place this web site has helped me tremendously. Thankfulness for all of your time & work. “A physicist is an atom’s way of calculating on the subject of atoms.” by George Wald.

  16. sennik says:

    Hi there, You have done an excellent job. I will certainly digg it and personally recommend to my friends. I’m confident they’ll be benefited from this site.

  17. Google says:

    just beneath, are numerous totally not associated websites to ours, even so, they may be certainly worth going over

  18. I am generally looking to develop my website. Once i fix one thing, I next discover other things can be improved. It is definitely an constant process.

  19. As always valuable facts. I recently started posting but I hope that my site shall be as good as your own eventually.

  20. Wan Shaheed says:

    hello there and thank you for your info – I’ve certainly picked up something new from right here. I did however expertise a few technical issues using this site, as I experienced to reload the site many times previous to I could get it to load properly. I had been wondering if your web host is OK? Not that I am complaining, but sluggish loading instances times will very frequently affect your placement in google and could damage your high-quality score if ads and marketing with Adwords. Anyway I am adding this RSS to my email and can look out for much more of your respective fascinating content. Make sure you update this again very soon..

  21. breakfast coming more than once more to read through further information. Great products from you, man. I’ve realize your things prior to and you happen to be just

  22. Oh my goodness! Amazing article dude! Thanks, However I am experiencing issues with your RSS. I don’t know why I am unable to join it. Is there anybody getting identical RSS issues? Anyone who knows the solution can you kindly respond? Thanks!!

  23. Efe says:

    Nietttt. wat vet! Haha, ik doe NOOIT mee aan giveaways! Maar deze heb ik niet olgvgesraeen! Wat cool dat je hem hebt gewonnen chick! 🙂 En klinkt ook super leuk je trip met Andy!

Leave a Reply