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Grief into Action

Grief into Action

Kate’s treatment for her recurrent osteosarcoma immersed us in a second round of aggressive chemotherapy treatments. We checked into the hospital every few weeks with her pillow, an array of stuffed animals, and a notebook to start writing down what we had learned about staying safe in the hospital. We both felt the need to document our hard-won lessons, and over time, our efforts segued into a plan for a book. Kate lost her battle with cancer in February, 2000, but she lived to ring in the millennium, which was one of her last goals. We have dozens of photos of Kate and her brothers wearing...

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Katherine “Kate” Hallisy

Katherine “Kate” Hallisy

In October of 1989 our second child, Kate, was diagnosed at five months of age with bilateral retinoblastoma after malignant tumors were discovered in the retina of each eye. Normally, retinoblastoma is a treatable and curable type of cancer. The doctors were encouraging and told us optimistically, “If your child has to develop cancer, this is the kind to have.” Unfortunately, this was not to be our daughter’s destiny. Kate’s disease was extraordinarily aggressive and she experienced several recurrences, which necessitated the removal of her right eye and two years of chemotherapy and...

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A Missed Diagnosis

A Missed Diagnosis

My late father, Julius (Tony) Bajone, was a member of what we now refer to as “the greatest generation” – men and women willing to make extraordinary sacrifices, humble war heroes, and rebuilders of hope and security. There was no self-indulgent commiserating; only a unified vision of moving forward better and stronger. Each day was both a gift and an opportunity to improve the lives of the people you knew and loved, and those you would never meet. My father was the first member of our family to experience a serious medical error, but he would not be the last. My father was a carpenter and...

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An Empowered Patient Coalition Blog. Why Now?

An Empowered Patient Coalition Blog.  Why Now?

Why a blog? Why now? And what can we learn from the patients and their loved ones who are willing to share their health care experiences? I have resisted blogging because it is always a challenge to fit new projects into my ongoing patient advocacy efforts. I am a practicing general dentist working full-time on the front lines of health care, a wife and mother, an author, and the Founder and President of The Empowered Patient Coalition non-profit organization. Like so many others, time management is an intricate balancing act in my world. The reality is that the patient voice is needed in...

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