In 2007, David Goldhill's father was admitted to a New York City hospital with pneumonia, and five weeks later he died there from multiple hospital-acquired infections. "I probably would have been like any other family member dealing with the grief and disbelief," says Goldhill, a self-described liberal Democrat who is currently the CEO of the Game Show Network. "But," as Goldhill recounts,
A month later there was a profile in The New Yorker of physician Peter Provonost, who was running around the country with fairly simple steps for cleanliness and hygiene that could significantly reduce the hospital-acquired infection rate, but he was having a hard time getting hospitals to sign up for this. I had helped run a movie chain, and we had a rule that if a soda spilled, it had to be cleaned up in five minutes or someone got in trouble. And I thought to myself, if we can do that to get you not to go to the theater across the street, why are hospitals having such a hard time doing simple cost-free things to save lives?
That's how Goldhill first got interested in the economics of the American health care system. In 2009, he published a much-discussed article in The Atlantic, which he has now expanded into a book, titled Catastrophic Care: How American Health Care Killed My Father–and How We Can Fix It.