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  • Writer's pictureJennifer Depew

Power or authority?

To have power over someone is to dominate and use or abuse potentially - to exploit and control.

To have authority over someone may also control but with an added responsibility to protect and nurture the person - or ecosystem.

The role of human power or authority over ecosystems or other people as employees, in relation to business and jobs, is the topic of an important book about the UN Sustainable Development Goal number 8, Decent Work and Economic Growth, which I've summarized highlights from on another website, see GDP is not a good way to measure National Health, or see the link to the book, SDG8 – Sustainable Economic Growth and Decent Work for All, by Madhavi Venkatesan and Giuliano Luongo. [1][Goodreads].

The role of humans over younger humans involves parents, teachers, and other caregivers. Being raised by a narcissistic parent or parents can leave a child at risk of emotional neglect or abuse due the narcissist's tendency to lack self awareness of their own need to be center. (1) Young children naturally look at the world with themselves as the center until a later preschool stage of development. Toddlers and infants are still learning that their hunger isn't all of the world's hunger or tiredness.

Children need responsible care with safe boundaries based on their development readiness. Even teens can benefit from clear and consistent rules based on reasonable standards of safety with some room for negotiation for special occasions.

Medical care is another area of life where we are placing ourselves or loved ones in the power of another person or clinic. They also have a responsibility to protect safety of the patient. Harm is unfortunately a risk that can lead to worse health, or even death.

"A recent meta-analysis of 70 studies involving a total of 337,025 patients revealed that the average rate of preventable patient harm was 6%, of which 12% was severe or led to death (2). The same study also revealed that errors related to drugs (25%) and other treatments (24%) were the largest sources of preventable patient harm, and incidents were more likely to occur in advanced specialties (intensive care or surgery) in comparison to general hospitals (2)." (2)

Critical areas for improvement in the area of preventing medical harm include intensive care and pediatric departments according to the team of researchers who reviewed the 70 studies regarding a total of 337,025 patients. Preventable harm to 6% would be 20,221 of the total number of patients with 2426 of them dying from the issue. (2)

Errors related to drugs being prescribed also involved more than 5000 of the total number of patients. (2) There are approximately 883.7 million health care visits in the US per year according to (3) With a similar rate of harm due to prescriptions,13.2 million people may have been harmed by their medication. Six million three hundred and sixty two thousand people may have been killed due to medical errors - per year. Thankfully that number is unlikely to be the number of people injured annually as the rates were based on visits to hospital type settings, not physician offices, but it is probably a large number. Medical injuries are now the third leading cause of death in the US, after heart disease and cancer, reports range from 250,000 to 440,000 people per year. (4)

Covid-19 deaths have been frightening and are still frightening, but many people are living with harm or loss from medical issues. First do no harm is a goal of medical care and it may need to become a larger goal for everyone to think about during their own daily lives, whether taking care only of themselves or also caring for others.

Reference List

  1. These Are the Signs Someone Was Raised By a Narcissist. MedCircle, June 12, 2020,

  2. Atanasov Atanas G., Yeung Andy Wai Kan, Klager Elisabeth, et al., First, Do No Harm (Gone Wrong): Total-Scale Analysis of Medical Errors Scientific Literature. Front. Public Health, 16 October 2020 |

  3. FastStats - Physician Office Visits,,

  4. Ray Sipherd, The third-leading cause of death in US most doctors don’t want you to know about. Feb. 22, 2018,,


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