Dr Joseph Q. Jarvis is the author of THE PURPLE WORLD: HEALING THE HARM IN AMERICAN HEALTH CARE.
Dr. Jarvis was a practicing family doctor for years as well as a public health official in Nevada and Colorado.
We spoke with him virtually, and found out the meaning behind the book's title.
"I chose the title 'The Purple World' because when I was in medical school my infectious disease professor was trying to impress upon us how full of microbes and dangerous the world is," says Jarvis, "He said, 'if urine were red and stool were blue we'd live in a purple world.'How true those words are, and it's evident even more as our current experience proves to us. But the world of health care is equally dangerous, maybe more so, which I explain in THE PURPLE WORLD. Recent data from National Institute of Health documents that preventable injuries to hospitalized patients leads to 400,000 deaths in the US each year. We need health care to help us with treatments for injury and illness, but we need hospitals to become a much safer place for patients."
Dr. Jarvis handled several communicable disease outbreaks during his time in public health, including food-borne illnesses like Hepatitis A and dysentery, and syphilis. He says that American public health agencies were developed as a response to communicable diseases and were very successful in preventing disease and premature death....with one unexpected caveat: A too-comfortable public.
"Unfortunately, the success of public health agencies has fostered ignorance about communicable diseases among the population," Jarvis says. "Now support for public health programs has waned. The result is that we are unprepared for catastrophes like COVID-19."
He goes into further detail about that in the book, and says we can learn the following messages from THE PURPLE WORLD, and the COVID-19 pandemic:
"Public health is the thin blue line that protects our communities from excess disease and premature mortality. We have terribly underfunded and understaffed our public health agencies. During the last decade alone 60,000 jobs have been unfunded in public health agencies across the country. The result is that we were totally unprepared for a massive outbreak. We should have been case contacting early on. And opening the economy back up will require contact tracing and testing. But we don't have the manpower for effective disease control in public health. Time to beef up these resources."
THE PURPLE WORLD is available anywhere books are sold online in either paperback, ebook, or audiobook.
And if you go to thepurpleworld.com, you can enter a contest to win one of 5 free books.