The Libby Zion case

Interesting review of a book on the Libby Zion case in the New York Review. Libby Zion died in New York’s hospital in 1984, and according to the reviewer,  with one exception, no other patient’s case has so transformed American medicine:

After years of inquiry into Libby Zion’s death no one can be sure why she died, and who, if anyone, was to blame. A grand jury considered bringing criminal charges against her doctors; the state’s Professional Medical Conduct board held extensive hearings, and a civil court gathered testimony in a trial that lasted several months. To this day no one is certain why an apparently healthy eighteen-year-old suddenly developed a fever that soared to a fatal 108 degrees.

The father sued the hospital claiming that interns were so exhausted that they failed to take care of the patient. But this review suggests the problems lie with the residency program, and the variety of medical practitioners (including students) who circulate around the bed.


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