surgical, pharmaceutical, etc. ---

errors by doctors, nurses, hospitals, etc.

Home page > This MEDICAL ERROR LINKS page

! NOTE !
Like most 'LINKS' pages on the web, there will, no doubt,
be more and more dead links on this page over time.
It may be years at a time before I return to this page to
remove dead links and replace some links with better links.
In the meantime, try 'WEB SEARCH' links provided on this page.

Please note:

"Make a habit of two things --- to help, or at least,
to do no harm." is a phrase that became common
in American medical texts in the late 1800's.
An earliest attribution is to Hippocrates, circa 400 B.C.

There is a common perception that U.S. doctors take an oath
of this nature when they graduate from med school.
This is not true. It is simply a statement by Hippocrates
that USED TO BE common in American medical texts.

Table of Contents:

(links to sections of this page, below)

Where I'm Coming From (Background info) :

After about 50 years of no hospital surgeries, I had three surgeries in one year (2005). I experienced medical errors first hand. Some were committed by nurses ... some by doctors.

The doctors did not expend enough effort to make sure nurses took good care --- and to ensure that the nurses gave good post-op instructions.

In some cases, doctors do not have enough respect for Mother Nature's designs and they get too aggressive in removing and revising things in your body. In some cases, this aggressiveness may be motivated because the doctor can add more chargeable items (codes) to the medical bill submitted to the insurance companies. It seems to be a game of trying to circumvent the obstacles to over-compensation that are erected by the insurance companies or by government compensation systems, like Medicare. You, the patient, are the pawn in the middle.

In some cases, you may have an agreement with the doctor on limiting the extent of surgery (with the intent of reducing the "bull in a china shop" scenario). However, once you go under general anesthesia, all agreements are off. You no longer have any control over what happens to your body. The typical doctor seems to think his way is the only way and whatever he wants is what is done.

In some cases, the doctor seems to have a "model plane builder" approach to surgery. That is, whatever looks prettiest is best. However, the real miracles happen after surgery, when Mother Nature takes over to do her magic in healing the slashes and abrasions and bruises of the surgery. At that point, Mother Nature does not need "prettiness". She needs tissue/cartilage/bone on which to build other tissue/cartilage/bone. That is not easy (or even possible) if too much has been removed or if surfaces are smooth as polished glass. For example, rough-surfaced cartilage is better than none at all.

Also, Mother Nature needs some help from fluids, like lubricating fluids or cushioning fluids. Those fluids are not forthcoming if the fluid-making tissue has been removed --- for example, when too much synovial tissue is removed from joints. Synovial tissue makes the milky fluid that lubricates joints. And perhaps the fluid helps in providing components that help re-build or repair cartilage.

Some info on my surgery-nurse-doctor experiences --- with knee, back, eye --- is on other links pages --- related to the knee, back, and eye.

This page is meant to provide some information to try to rectify a really poor status of the U.S. medical system in regard to medical errors. (The U.S. is ranked near the bottom of about 35 'developed' countries with regard to containment of medical errors. In other words, the ratio of number of medical errors to number of hospital visits is relatively high in the U.S. --- some U.S. follow-up surveys indicate a rate of 40 to 50%.)

Some advice for those considering surgery :

  • If the doctor will not tell you how often he has done this particular type of surgery, don't walk --- RUN to the exit door. Find another doctor.

    And if he does less than 3 of a common kind of surgery per month, find another doctor. Examples: knee arthroscopy or knee replacement. (NOTE: Do not consider these two types of surgery to be equivalent.)

  • If the doctor will not give you a reference to a few of his patients who have had the surgery by him, don't walk --- RUN to the exit door.

    If this is a "sports medicine" doctor, but the doctor cannot produce any examples of surgery patients who were able to return to their sport for a significant period of time, then RUN --- while you still can!

  • If you have an MRI (or similar scan) and the doctor says that it shows a condition that justifies surgery and says it with some glee (suppressed or not) as he mentions that the scan results justify insurance coverage, don't walk --- RUN to the exit.

  • If, on each visit to the doctor, the doctor seems to allot about 2 to 3 minutes for the visit and walks out at that time, even when you still have a couple of questions to ask or when you have a couple of more symptoms to describe --- RUN! Don't walk.

  • If the doctor never has asked you "Do you have any more questions?", change doctors.

Some advice related to NURSES and surgery :

  • Take down the names of all nurses involved in your surgery --- those giving pre-operation instructions, those attending the surgery, those giving post-operation instructions. If you have troubles after surgery, you may wish to make sure those parties are informed of mistakes that were made in your case.

    You cannot depend on your doctor to adequately convey that corrective information to nurses post-op --- nor can you depend on the doctor to remind all the nurses involved pre-op, of important procedures to be followed.

  • If your surgery involves your being transferred from a "gurney" to an operating table --- and if one or two young nurses say they will be transferring you, be aware that you will probably be out cold (like a sack of potatoes) from the anesthesia drip by the time you get to the operating room. Those nurses will need HELP to get you SAFELY to the operating table.

    Make sure that the responsible doctors see that the nurses have sufficient help (and experienced, knowledgeable help) in doing the transfer. It takes 4 people to assure a safe transfer from gurney to operating table.

    My lower spine seems to have undergone some heavy trauma when I was in such a situation --- nurses were to transfer me from gurney to operating table.

    If the nurses look like they just graduated from high school, be wary of their experience in properly transferring patients in an anesthetized state. Make the responsible doctors aware of your concerns. And alert your advocate at the hospital --- wife, relative, friend --- that they should make sure that all doctors and aides involved are aware of the concerns and are reminded of the care to be taken. Many doctors do not seem to do reminding.

  • If --- after a hip, knee, or ankle surgery --- a nurse gives you post-operation instructions such as "start putting weight on it as soon as you get home", ask her/him if she/he is aware that it may take about 24 hours for the morphine (or other pain deadener that was used in the surgery) to wear off.

    Ask them if they really think it is a good idea to be putting weight on the joint while it is still deadened. In particular, ask if it is a good idea to be walking up and down stairs (whether 3 or 13) before having feeling back in the joint.

    In fact, ask the nurse if they have ever had hip/knee/ankle surgery. If not, take anything they say with a BLOCK of salt. They cannot know the amount of stress that is put on joints when going up and down stairs, if they they have not gone up and down stairs after joint surgery.

    Get on the internet and find some orthopedic clinic web sites and see what they suggest for recovery procedures after joint surgery. In many cases, they recommend giving the joint at least a week before significant weight is placed upon the joint. And they often suggest using a brace for several weeks.

  • If you think your nurse seems particularly careless or unsuited to properly lift you (or care for you, or advise you), then see about getting another nurse, or see about getting help for that nurse.

The need for patient-run, non-commercial evaluation/review web sites
to post reviews of doctors and hospitals :

We patients need web sites for recording our evaluations of medical-doctors and doctor-procedures and hospital-procedures (and drugs) --- like buyer-reviews of products at

A lot of the reviews on such web sites would be junk or useless --- but many reviews would be extremely helpful, because the patients know a lot more about the end-result of procedures-and-protocols than their doctors know. The doctors do not even have the time to listen --- and, when they do listen, they listen through mostly-plugged, self-biased ears.

Unfortunately, most medical education is assembled from a doctor's point of view --- never a patient's view, say, a year or so after the patient has been the recipient of procedures. It often takes a year or so for a patient to really evaluate the outcome of a procedure --- but who is going to have the time and patience to wait to gather that information in a comprehensive, proper, un-biased, and meaningful way.

So far (2006), the only example of patient-source (not doctor- or hospital-source) information-gathering seems to be a survey by a foundation, the Kaiser Family Foundation --- which gathered helpful but very general patient feedback. The survey found that half ( 50% !! ) of all people with chronic conditions say that they have experienced a medical error in their own care or that of a family member.

    [Probably family members had to speak for patients who were rendered vegetables, or dead, by their "care". Also, family members have to speak on behalf of infants. The case of an overdose of blood thinner being given to the twin girls of the actor Dennis Quaid, circa 2006, comes to mind.]

We need a Wikipedia for medical patients, so that an "encyclopedia" of patient feedback can be gathered relatively quickly and inexpensively --- and so that the information is edit-able and summariz-able by relatively expert, objective, good-intentioned patients.

There was a Time magazine cover story (circa 2006) on doctors. Many of the doctors interviewed had serious concerns about their family members or themselves going into the hospital. These are examples of some candidates for helping edit such Wikipedias. But they are still not objective enough to be the only editors.

An example medical error case :

If you think hospitals can be trusted to be objective and forthright, read the following story of a hospital that would not even make their procedures public --- nor available to a patient and the family.

What do they have to hide? Or, more to the point, should they be allowed to hide their procedures from patients, their customers? from the community that they are supposed to serve?

This story is from the Saturday 4 November 2006 Daily Press of Newport News, Virginia.

    Headline: $1 million Riverside verdict upheld.
    Subtitle: The Virginia Supreme Court rules in favor of a malpractice suit.
    By Beverly N. Williams, bwilliams at dailypress dot com,
    757-247-4755. [Thank you, Beverly.]

Start of quote (comments in brackets and in bold font are mine) :

Newport News - The Virginia Supreme Court ruled Friday that Riverside Regional Medical Center must pay a $1 million medical malpractice judgment to the family of a woman who broke her hip when she fell while walking in the hall outside her hospital room.

Elaine Johnson, 79, was admitted to the hospital in 1997 for observation because she was weak, confused and disoriented, court records show. She also was dehydrated, agitated and hallucinating but the hospital staff failed to identify Johnson, who suffered from lymphoma, as a high fall-risk patient or take precautions to prevent her from getting out of bed and falling.

She fell a few days later and fractured her hip, court records show. Johnson's health began to deline after the fall and she died a year later.

Johnson's family sued Riverside in 2001, claiming it was negligent in its care of Johnson. In November 2005, a jury agreed Riverside was responsible for Johnson's fall and ordered the hospital to pay the family $1 million.

Riverside appealed, claiming the trial judge erred when he allowed evidence about patient falls at Riverside and other hospitals to be introduced.

    [This reminds one of alleged criminals objecting when their previous crimes are brought up at a trial.]

Hospital officials also protested releasing Riverside's staff orientation instructions and nurse training materials and quality control data about falls that occurred at the hospital.

    [What do they have to hide? An atrocious record of patient falls? Are they afraid that, in this case, staff and nurses did not follow orientation and training instructions? It is difficult to see how procedures will be rigorously followed if the hospital continually hides its mistakes from its customers and from the community that the hospital is supposed to serve.]

But the state Supreme Court disagreed and upheld the $1 million verdict.

    [The community should be thankful that the court had the courage to "do the right thing" in allowing orientation and training materials, and incident reports, to be presented.]

The court's ruling clears the way for people to finally gain access to hospital incident reports and databases, said Avery Waterman, the family's attorney. In the past, such incident reports and databases were labeled as quality control documents, which are privileged and not open to public scrutiny, he said.

End of quote (newpaper story).

[The administrators and directors and policy-setters of this hospital deserve to be in a national Hall of Shame. One has to wonder about the stories behind those other "incidents". After reading a story like this, you might feel like you need a shower. The story drips with the sleaze emanating from the administrators who do not want to reveal their training procedures to their customer-patients.]

[Irrespective of whether Riverside was responsible for Johnson's fall, it seems to only encourage poor patient care if hospitals are allowed to hide their procedures and their "incident reports" from their patients, the families, and the community.]

You can use an option like 'Find in This Page ...' of your web browser to find character strings in this page, such as 'surgery' or 'pain' or 'drug' or 'reaction' or 'knee' or 'back'.

For those who do not want to take the time to access and read the following article links, I have extracted some significant quotes from the articles and presented those quotes following each link.

End of Table of Contents, and end of background info.

Start of link sections.

Medical Errors - GENERAL INFO - web pages

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  • About Half Of All Chronically Sick/Injured Experience Medical Errors in Their Health Care - at
    --- and about One-Third of All Americans
    - Kaiser Family Foundation (2004)

    "The survey found that half (50%) of all people with chronic conditions say that they have experienced a medical error in their own care or that of a family member --- far more than those without chronic illnesses (30%)."

    "After being read a common definition of a medical error, about one in three people (34%) say that they or a family member had experienced a medical error at some point in their life. This includes 21% of all Americans who say that a medical error caused 'serious health consequences' such as death (8%), long-term disability (11%) or severe pain (16%). About one in seven of those who said the error caused serious health consequences (14%, or 3% of all Americans) say that they or their family filed a malpractice lawsuit as a result of the error."

  • Medical Errors: The Scope of the Problem - at
    Publication No. AHRQ 00-P037
    (AHRQ = Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality)

    (This web page was gone in 2015, but you can find many references to this publication if you do a search of the web site for "medical error" and "the scope of the problem".)

    "44,000 to 98,000 people die in hospitals each year as the result of medical errors ... higher than motor vehicle accidents (43,458), breast cancer (42,297), or AIDS (16,516). About 7,000 people per year are estimated to die from medication errors alone --- about 16 percent more deaths than the number attributable to work-related injuries."

    "According to a national poll conducted by the National Patient Safety Foundation:

    • Forty-two percent of respondents had been affected by a medical error, either personally or through a friend or relative.

    • Thirty-two percent of the respondents indicated that the error had a permanent negative effect on the patient's health."

  • Medical error - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia - at

    "In the United States medical error is estimated to result in ... 1,000,000 excess injuries each year."

  • Operation Cure.all -- Whose Cure? - Share The Wealth - at 2003/12/11/ operation_cureall_whose_cure.htm

    "According to the 'Journal of the American Medical Association' Vol. 284 July 26, 2000, things like unnecessary surgery, medication errors, negative effects of drugs, etc., cause almost as many deaths as heart disease and cancer."

    "This comes to a total to 250,000 deaths per year from iatrogenic causes! Iatrogenic means it was caused by a physician's activity, manner, or therapy. And these estimates are for deaths only and do not include negative effects that are associated with disability or discomfort!"

    "Doesn't this beg the question, 'Is treatment from a doctor safe?' Yet I do not see the government addressing this issue in any way. This prompts me to ask, who is the government protecting? And why?"

  • Four Corners - 03/07/2006: Killed by Care - at content/ 2006/ s1674541.htm

    "In America, it's claimed up to 100,000 people annually are being killed by their care."

    "The root of the problem, according to critics, lies in the culture of medicine --- a culture of secrecy and blame in which the only mistakes that are investigated are the ones that can't be hidden."

  • Revamping Of Healthcare System Required To Bring Down Preventable Medical Errors - at

    "Medical errors are considered as a substantial health crisis in New Zealand. Australia has the highest figures when compared to other western countries. About 16.6 % of patients were experiencing medical error and 2.3 % killed or disabled due to medical errors. Denmark had the lowest rates, at 9 % and 0.4 % respectively."

  • Confessions of a Medical Heretic: Explore similar - at 0809241315/ americasphone-20/ 104-1038991-6456729

    Book: "Confessions of a Medical Heretic" by Robert Mendelsohn. Book description: "Covers issues from unnecessary surgeries and prescribed drugs to preventive medicine and home births."

  • Make No Mistake: Medical Errors Can Be Deadly Serious - at

    (This FDA web page was gone in 2015, but you can try a WEB SEARCH on keywords
    'dana carvey wrong artery'.)

    "Two months after a double bypass heart operation that was supposed to save his life, comedian and former Saturday Night Live cast member Dana Carvey got some disheartening news: the cardiac surgeon had bypassed the wrong artery." [He sued for $7.5 million.]

    After this start, this article actually talks mostly about drug errors.

  • Medical Error and Patient Injury: Costly and Often Preventable - at carequality/ Articles/ aresearch-import-711-IB35.html

    "Estimates of the frequency of medical errors and injuries and the costs associated with them vary considerably, but even the most conservative estimates indicate that the problem is widespread, very costly, and requires serious attention."

    (This AARP web page was gone in 2015, but an AARP search on the keywords 'medical errors' resulted in 206 hits on AARP articles in 2015.)

  • Epidemiology of medical error- at
    Weingart et al. 320 (7237): 774 (BMJ = British Medical Journal)

    "In both the Harvard study and the Australian study, about half of the adverse events occurring among inpatients resulted from surgery. Complications from drug treatment, therapeutic mishaps, and diagnostic errors were the most common non-operative events."

    "Adverse drug events have been investigated extensively because they are prevalent and preventable."

  • Bush Signs Medical Error Database Bill - at 0,1540,1841969,00.asp

    July 31, 2005 : "President Bush signed a bill Friday allowing clinicians to report medical errors anonymously. The information will be collected into databases maintained by patient-safety organizations and analyzed for clues as to how to reduce mistakes.

    The move follows criticism of the FDA that it does not monitor drug safety sufficiently and legislation to limit awards in medical malpractice lawsuits."

  • Hospital Staff Not Likely to Report Hospital Errors - at hospital-staff-report-hospital-errors/ story?id=15308019

    "the inspector general of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services found that more than 80 percent of hospital errors go unreported by hospital employees."

    (WARNING: This site starts up videos without your permission.)

  • A system to Describe and Reduce Medical Errors in Primary Care - at A_System_ to_Describe _and_Reduce_ Medical_Errors_ in_Primary_Care

    (from Duke University's Department of Community and Family Medicine, circa 2006)

  • 10 years but little progress on patient safety - at

    • For more such articles, here is a WEB SEARCH on keywords
      'medical errors'

    • NOTE: It is rather amazing that with all these articles on medical errors in the U.S., over a period of more than 15 years, there is still no method of reporting and recording errors. (Not so surprising considering the powerful lobbies at work in Congress.) But how can there be a reduction in medical errors when any attempt at facilitating the reporting of errors is blocked??

    • It appears that magazines and newspapers are motivated to publish articles on the medical error problem, in order to sell magazines and newspapers. It appears that may be the best we can hope for --- as far as reporting of medical errors. Not very comprehensive and hence not helpful.

    • Go to Table of Contents, above.

Medical Errors - FORUMS - web pages

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  • NOTE: It is almost impossible to find 'medical error forums' (in the 2005-2015 timeframe). It is more likely that you can find postings on medical errors at various message sites by using a search of the site for the keywords 'medical error' or 'surgery mistake' or 'drug side effect'.

  • Victims of Medical Errors May Face Hurdle; Bill Would Let Hospitals Protect Some Evidence - at (August 2002)

      (This message forum, along with its web site, was gone in 2015. However, this post indicates that legislators are going to make it hard for anyone to get just compensation for terrible medical errors. The legislators are removing patients' last recourse, without providing an alternative recourse.)

    The Record (Bergen County, NJ) - August 11, 2002 Sunday All Editions :

    "Victims of bad medical treatment may soon find it harder to figure out what happened to them. Lawmakers in Trenton are planning to introduce legislation that would prevent victims from getting internal hospital documents that detail doctors' errors. Such documents can be critically important to victims, because they can help build a court case."

    Sidebar : "Three cases where mistakes were discovered ..."

  • Medical Errors Forum at - at

    (See various reports on specific errors.)

  • Medical Errors Archive - at
    (articles tagged 'medical errors' at the TEDMED Blog)

Medical Errors - BLOG STORIES - web pages

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  • IPBiz - Medmal: spinning by the AP? - at

    "Discussing a Harvard study which appears in the May 11, 2006 issue of the New England Journal of Medicine, the AP reports: About 40 percent of the medical malpractice cases filed in the United States are groundless, according to a Harvard analysis of the hotly debated issue that pits trial lawyers against doctors, with lawmakers in the middle. However, Reuters put a different spin on the SAME story: People who file lawsuits against doctors accusing them of medical mistakes rarely do so frivolously, and those who file trivial claims generally receive no payout, researchers at Harvard University found."

    It turns out that interpretation of the study depends on the definition of "groundless" --- which seems to depend on which side of the suit you are.

  • How do you tell good doctors from bad - at

    This single 2005 blog post contains a wealth of interesting quotes, including this from a doctor:

    "As a retired physician, I can honestly say that unless you are in a serious accident, your best chance of living to a ripe old age is to avoid doctors and hospitals ..."

  • Blog Posts tagged with 'medical errors' at The Health Care Blog - at

    About 3 pages of blog posts on medical errors.

  • Blog Posts tagged with 'medical errors' at - at

  • News stories tagged with 'medical errors' at - at

  • Doctors' Errors - Happen More Than You Think - AARP Blog - at

  • Medical Errors Kill Enough People to Fill 4 Jumbo Jets a Week - at

    "the CDC does not even mention Medical Errors in their report on the leading causes of death."

  • Medical errors: We can't trust doctors to get it right - at

    The title of this blog post pretty much sums up the deductions to be made from the links on this page.

  • Bioethics Discussion Blog: Changing the System:
    Medical Mistakes and Unprofessional Behavior
    - at

    "Are you aware of any issues in medicine or biologic science which are being done right, could be improved, or in fact represent totally unethical behavior? Write about them here.. and I will too!" ... Maurice Bernstein, M.D."


    "Notes on Medicine, Science & Technology from a Nephrologist in New York City"

    "The medical blogosphere is made up of a growing number of physicians, nurses, students, PAs, patients, scientists, social workers, administrators engineers, IT professionals, librarians, EMTs, consultants, and many other people involved in health care."

    (This page lists many medical blogs, including some 'patient story' blogs.)

  • Surgery Sucks!!!! - at

    "the blog that lets Richard Rossiter vent about the mess that the medical system has made of pain treatment and surgery to treat pain"

  • - Health care from the patient's point of view:
    MedBloggers tell the best stories
    - at 2006/05/ medbloggers_tel.html (to 2012?)

    "Sometimes I am astonished, delighted and even moved by the stories that MedBloggers tell. Today I'd like to point you to just a handful of my favorites from the last couple of weeks."

    "These are the stories we don't often get to hear, because they're coming from the other side of the exam room table [ doctors? ]"

  • Blog - A Case Management News & Resource Blog - at
    Headlines from the Week of May 29, 2006

      (This blog, along with its web site, was gone in 2015. However, this post has an interesting comment on 'doing battle' with medical insurance companies --- for the beleaguered individual trying to get medical justice.)

    "Here are 10 trends that [Florence Nightingale] tried to get others to address in the early 1800's"

    "What I've learned is that battling your insurance company is like waging a war. You need to attack from all fronts. Here are some tips that can help you."

  • The Online Lawyer: Medical Malpractice; Sorry About The Leg - at 2006/06/medical-malpractice-sorry-about-leg.html

    "Most medical malpractice attornies do not charge for an initial consultation and can tell you during the consultation whether you have a valid claim."

  • Malpractice Attornies Blog - May 2006 - at

    (lists of malpractice attornies --- and malpractice news snippets)

  • The Ablution Block: Back from posting oblivion - at 2006/06/back-from-posting-oblivion.html

    Posts by Jose and Amy, medical students becoming doctors. "We started off the section on medical error with a video depicting a scenario replaying some true story-based senarios of preventable medical error. There were several roles depicted in the video, including that of a medical receptionist, intern, resident, attending [physician], nurse, and medical student."

Medical Errors - SURGICAL - web pages

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Medical Errors - PHARMACEUTICAL - web pages

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Medical Errors - 'WEB DIRECTORY' pages

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It seems that 'web directories' are dying out. Google and Yahoo closed theirs down around 2014. Then around 2017, the directory from which the Google and Yahoo web-directories were spawned --- the DMOZ "Open Directory Project" closed down.

It seems that it is just not feasible for a team of people to keep up with all the sites that are going dead and the new sites that appear.

About a year after the site closed down, it appears that a new web-directory site --- --- arose from the ashes of ''. It remains to be seen how long that web-directory lasts.

Following are a few links related to 'web directory' sites.

The signs above were made by taking typical
warning/caution/danger/think/traffic signs
and adapting them to the topic of medical errors.

Bottom of this
MEDICAL ERRORS web links page.

To return to a previously visited web page location, click on the Back button of your web browser, a sufficient number of times. OR, use the History-list option of your web browser.
OR ...

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Or you can scroll up, to the top of this page.

Page history:

Page was created 2006 Aug 09.

Page was changed 2010 Aug 09.

Page was changed 2015 Jun 08.
(Removed dead links to the old Google and Yahoo 'web-directories'. Added 'WEB SEARCH' links. Added some links. Removed some dead links.)

Page was changed 2018 Sep 21.
(Added css and javascript to try to handle text-size for smartphones, esp. in portrait orientation.)

Page was changed 2021 Feb 12.
(Specified the width of images in proportion to the width of the browser window. Some minor re-formatting.)