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A Talk on Grief Giving Way to Writing

It's a bleak prognosis, but checking into an American hospital can be, according to Author David Goldhill, as dangerous as going to war.

In 2009 alone, some 100,000 Americans died as a direct or indirect result of infections picked up in hospitals. This number is more than twice that of those killed in automobile accidents and a startling five times the number of people killed in homicides. Perhaps the most arresting statistic, Goldhill states, is that hospital-borne infections killed 20 times the total number of American armed forces killed in Iraq and Afghanistan.

Goldhill is president and CEO of the Game Show Network. His Atlantic magazine article, "How American Healthcare Killed My Father," was considered among the year's most provocative on the subject of dysfunction in the nation's healthcare system. He will be giving a lecture in the McManus room of the Westport Library Monday, November 15 at 7:30 p.m. The discussion will be moderated by Irving Wladawsky-Berger, VP emeritus at IBM and consultant to IBM and Citigroup, as well as a visiting lecturer at MIT.

In his article, Goldhill details his 83 year-old father's death and the exhaustive research that commenced following his grief. "Dad had just turned 83, and he had a variety of the ailments common to men of his age. But he was still working on the day he walked into the hospital with pneumonia. Within 36 hours, he had developed sepsis. Over the next five weeks in the ICU, a wave of secondary infections, also acquired in the hospital, overwhelmed his defenses. My dad became a statistic—merely one of the roughly 100,000 Americans whose deaths are caused or influenced by infections picked up in hospitals."

As a nation, Goldhill further details, "we spent almost 18 percent of our GDP on healthcare last year, or eight times as much as we spent on education, 30 times what we spent on law enforcement, and 830 times what we spent on energy conservation."

For more information, go to the Library's website , or call 203-291-4800.

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