Deadly risks
One family's tragic encounter with surgery

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There are so many things Chuck Magner wishes now that he'd known about his father's illness and his doctors' proposed cure. Chief among them is this: that his father, Jerry, who had a history of vascular problems, lived in a part of Northern California where he was much more likely to be recommended for a risky surgical procedure designed to prevent strokes. Jerry Magner's story is a case study of the kinds of information patients and their families need to find out from their doctors and hospitals, but also of the difficulty they encounter trying to get the answers.


Out of family's surgical tragedy, a lesson in health care

Jerry Magner tried to reassure his son Chuck that he had been through all of this before and just wanted to get back home to his wife of 60 years, who was recently diagnosed with dementia. Magner was headed into surgery last summer to clean out a...

Surgery set? Here's what to ask your doctor

How should patients respond when a doctor recommends they undergo a major surgical procedure?

KQED: Death prompts family's questions about risky surgery

This story originally aired on KQED Public Radio.

KQED: What patients need to consider before risky surgery

How should patients respond when a doctor recommends they undergo a major surgical procedure?

Blog Posts

Doctor who suffered his own medical tragedy responds to stories

Last month, we chronicled the story of Jerry Magner, a Northern California man who suffered a massive stroke as a result of a surgery

California hospitals share data with each other

When I first heard that some surgeons don’t know how often their patients have major complications or die from a procedure, it was hard to believe.

Patients have a role in their own medical fate

Last summer, Chuck Magner’s father had a massive stroke during a surgery that was intended to prevent stroke, and died almost two weeks later.

Online comment spurs reporting about risky surgery

San Francisco Chronicle readers made 130 thoughtful, funny, snarky and often informative online comments in response to


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