WIHI: When Patients Feel as Powerless as Hostages

​​​​​​​​​Date: November 21, 2017


  • ​Leonard L. Berry, PhD, MBA, Univers​​ity Distinguished Professor of Marketing, Regents Professor, M.B. Zale Chair in Retailing and Marketing Leadership, Mays Business School, Texas A&M University; IHI Senior Fello​w
  • Rana Awdish, MD, Director Pulmonary Hypertension Program, Medical Director of Care Experience, Henry Ford Health System
  • Kedar Mate, MD, Chief Innovation and Education Officer, Institute for Healthcare Improvement (IHI)

Len Berry is a distinguished professor of marketing and author of ten books and numerous articles on how to address service "failures" in health care; he chooses his topics carefully. When he heard a distressed parent talk about his hospitalized son as though the child was a hostage, something clicked. To Berry, "hostage" was an apt way to describe how patients and family members sometimes feel when they're trying to get the care they need.

Berry is the lead author of "When Patients and Their Families Feel Like Hostages to Health Care​," published in the September 2017 issue of Mayo Clinic Proceedings. In the article, he and his co-authors recount circumstances and provider behaviors that intimidate patients and loved ones to the point of making it impossible to speak up and engage with health care from any position of dignity or strength. The examples in the article are stark, say the authors, but need to be stated if we're ever going to get to a different place.

Due to technical problems, audio from this episode of WIHI is not available. We apologize for the inconvenience and invite you to download other posted resources from the program, including a transcript of the live ​chat. 


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