How to Do No Harm

How leaders can minimize harm in health care, in other industries, and in all areas of life.

By Mark D. Harris

“How can we change this process to prevent this error from happening again?” the senior ward nurse asked the group. It is a common question, one that I have heard thousands of times from experienced and dedicated health care professionals of all stripes.

I have worked in health care for many years, serving in positions from volunteer to emergency medical technician to senior attending physician to chief of staff at a hospital to chief medical officer of a large network. In every position, “do no harm” is a fundamental theme. This famous statement from the writings of Hippocrates encapsulates quality improvement, patient safety, access to care, and many other goals in modern medicine.

“Do no harm” can be thought of as eliminating risks that could lead to a bad outcome, such as injury or death. Occupational and Environmental Medicine physicians learn that there are four ways to decrease risk in the workplace and in the environment:

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Battlefield Acupuncture

Basic patient information on Battlefield Acupuncture, a medical modality that promises to help patients with pain, mental health issues, and other problems.   

By Mark D. Harris

Where did it come from?

Acupuncture is a type of Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) that has been practiced for centuries. Battlefield acupuncture (BFA) is a variation of auricular acupuncture which was developed in the US Air Force by Dr. Richard Niemtzow. BFA includes dry needling and trigger point acupuncture which are used on other parts of the body outside the ear. Thousands of medical professionals have been trained in BFA.

What is it used for?[1]

  1. Musculoskeletal pain (muscles, bones, and joints)
  2. Migraine headaches
  3. Low back pain
  4. Sore throat
  5. Gallbladder pain
  6. Various other pain sites
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Kratom

The popular Southeast Asian botanical Kratom may be part of the solution to America’s opioid and mental health epidemics, or it may be part of the problem.

By Mark D. Harris

Joe (not his real name) was a veteran and heroin addict in his mid-30s. He presented to the emergency room with a deadly blood infection. So weak that he could barely walk, Joe ended up in the intensive care unit in a major hospital. Heroin followed him there, with drug dealers delivering to him in his room. Slowly he improved. He is off heroin. Today, Joe is in rehabilitation, gaining strength and trying to put his life back together.

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The Mystery of Solar Totality

The solar eclipse of 2017 has meaning far beyond the moon passing in front of the sun.

By Mark D. Harris

21 August 2017 will be an important day in astronomical history. A total eclipse of the sun will occur, cutting a 70-mile-wide path from Salem, OR to Columbia, SC in the United States.  The physics of this event would humble Einstein, with sun, moon, and earth moving through space in perfect time and position, finer even than Fred Astaire, Ginger Rogers, and Mikhail Baryshnikov at their most magnificent. There will be eclipse parties, eclipse merchandise, and millions of eclipse viewers, some acting as citizen scientists for the US National Air and Space Agency (NASA). Schools are closed, and visitors in Oregon are renting tents for the weekend for $1,500 to get a front row seat.

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