The Girl Who Died Twice: Every Patient's Nightmare - The Libby Zion Case and the Hidden Hazards of Hospitals

The Girl Who Died Twice: Every Patient's Nightmare - The Libby Zion Case and the Hidden Hazards of Hospitals

by Natalie Robins
     
 

How safe is your hospital? After his daughter's death, Sidney Zion launched a fiery campaign against New York Hospital, its doctors, and our entire medical infrastructure that centered on that question. Eventually, his efforts led to sweeping reforms in the rules governing hospitals in America and abroad, and made the name Libby Zion a buzzword for medical malpractice… See more details below

Overview

How safe is your hospital? After his daughter's death, Sidney Zion launched a fiery campaign against New York Hospital, its doctors, and our entire medical infrastructure that centered on that question. Eventually, his efforts led to sweeping reforms in the rules governing hospitals in America and abroad, and made the name Libby Zion a buzzword for medical malpractice. Recently, viewers across the country were mesmerized by Court TV's dramatic trial coverage of the wrongful death suit Zion brought against the hospital and the doctors involved in Libby's care. But the jury's controversial verdict raised as many questions as it answered, and the proceedings failed to fully address the life-and-death issues at the heart of the case: the hidden protocols that govern the way our hospitals really operate. Now, acclaimed investigative writer Natalie Robins delivers the inside account of this compelling modern tragedy, an object lesson in what happens when modern bureaucracies and complex family dynamics collide. Based on interviews with principals in the case, family members, friends, and hundreds of medical experts and educators, her book reveals the truth about Libby Zion's life and death and takes readers into the training grounds and hospital corridors of America's premiere medical institutions to confront the people who actually make the pivotal decisions when lives hang in the balance.

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
Libby Zion, an 18-year-old college student, was admitted to New York Hospital in 1984 with a fever, flailing of her arms and legs and flu-like symptoms. Her death eight hours later led her father, newspaper columnist and former federal prosecutor Sidney Zion, to sue the hospital for gross negligence. Last year a jury found that Libby and the hospital shared responsibility for her death equally: it concluded that she had used cocaine, which contributed to it-a finding later set aside on a technicality-but the jury also deemed doctors culpable for prescribing the wrong medication and for negligent care. Robins, author of Alien Ink: The FBI's War on Freedom of Expression, has written a dispassionate, engrossing account of the tragedy and its aftermath. She portrays Libby Zion as a chronically depressed adolescent who, according to the testimony of friends, used cocaine frequently, was a heavy marijuana smoker and overused a wide variety of prescription drugs. Robins credits Sidney Zion's campaign against the medical establishment with leading to significant reforms in residents' training, yet her report also underscores persistent problems: inexperienced interns and residents, understaffing, inattentive technicians, equipment errors and training of residents at the patients' expense. Photos. (Oct.)
Library Journal
A poet, crime writer, and 1992 First Ammendment award winner for Alien Ink (LJ 1/92), a major study of the FBI campaign against American Intellectuals, Robins is uniquely suited to probe the widelyreported malpractice case that resulted from the death of Libby Zion, an 18-year-old Bennington College undergraduate. Admitted to New York Hospital with fever and apparent flu, Zion died in a matter of hours under the poorly supervised care of an intern on duty. Evidence of Libby's apparent multiple drug use added ambiguity to the tragic series of medical oversights and complicated the legal proceedings that followed. Although the verdict in the malpractice case was mixed, Libby's father, journalist Sidney Zion, was ultimately successful in his crusade to make teaching hospitals more accountable for the supervision of residents and interns. The troubling story of Libby's death, the grief and rage of her family, and the responses of the doctors involved in her care are thoroughly researched and expertly told. Recommended for all libraries.-Kathy Arsenault, Univ. of South Florida at St. Petersburg Lib.
William Beatty
When 18-year-old Libby Zion entered New York Hospital for "fever and earache" on the night of March 4, 1984, and died a few hours later from "cardiac arrest," she might have become just another statistic swept under a hospital's file cabinet. Instead, her father, a writer with political connections, made her death the subject of a crusade that ultimately wrought substantial changes in medical education, both under-and postgraduate, and in hospital procedures. He was not, however, able to force the hospital into public acceptance of responsibility and formal apology. Robins examines the case, which became internationally famous, without bias, thoroughly, and right through the final court decision in May_ 1995. The whole affair was hardly cut-and-dried--indeed, the title springs from the suspicion that Libby had died at home from her lifestyle before she officially died at the hospital--and that makes the book much broader in scope and interest than the bare bones of the case at first suggest.

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Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780385308090
Publisher:
Random House Publishing Group
Publication date:
09/01/1995
Pages:
352
Product dimensions:
6.49(w) x 9.60(h) x 1.25(d)

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