The decision seemed straightforward. Bob McHenry’s heart was failing, and doctors recommended two high-risk surgeries to restore blood flow. Without the procedures, McHenry, 82, would die. The surgeon at a Boston teaching hospital ticked off the possible complications. Karen McHenry, the patient’s daughter, remembers feeling there was no choice but to say “go ahead.” It’s a scene she’s replayed in her mind hundreds of times since, with regret. On the operating table, Bob ...

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Dr. Hasan Shanawani was overcome by frustration. So, last week he picked up his cellphone and began sharing on Twitter his family’s enraging experiences with the U.S. health care system. It was an act of defiance — and desperation. Like millions of people who are sick or old and the families who care for them, this physician was disheartened by the health care system’s complexity and its all-too-frequent absence of caring ...

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