Patient Safety

Parallels Between the JFK Anniversary and Medical Harm

Parallels Between the JFK Anniversary and Medical Harm

While watching the news coverage of the anniversary of the death of President Kennedy the correlations between the assassination and the ongoing struggles of the patient safety movement were impossible for me to ignore. President Kennedy was a man who knew great personal suffering and loss and the ravages of physical injury and illness. He faced adrenal insufficiency from Addison’s disease, a debilitating back injury in the war, the loss of his oldest brother in a military operation, and the death of a sister in a plane crash. Kennedy experienced chronic pain, a serious back surgery that...

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Knowledge is a Prerequisite for Patient Engagement

Reposted from Patient and Family Centered Care Partners (PFCC)   A decade of caring for a critically ill child and another 13 years of patient safety and advocacy efforts have convinced me that access to even a small amount of information at the right time can completely transform a health care experience. Why am I so sure? Because even as an educated health care provider, I struggled at the bedside to keep my child safe from harm. I understood most of the terminology that the doctors were using, I had knowledge of the disease process surrounding infection, and I considered myself to be...

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Diagnostic Errors

Diagnostic Errors

Preventing Diagnostic Errors   An article I read today online at the Journal of the American Medical Association network about diagnostic errors brought back painful and frustrating memories. As the parent of a child who suffered a life-altering delay in diagnosis, I have worked for over a decade to educate the public about the role they can, and must, play in ensuring safe medical care for themselves and their loved ones. Diagnostic issues continue to occur frequently and often with serious consequences and cost. Our Empowered Patient ® Hospital Guide devotes an entire chapter to the...

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Five Safe Surgery Tips for Patients

Five Safe Surgery Tips for Patients

First appeared as a special to ProPublica, October 15, 2012 My late daughter, Katherine Eileen Hallisy, was 5-months-old when she was diagnosed with malignant tumors in both eyes. We knew cancer would be a formidable enemy. But we did not expect to fall victim to medical error, misdiagnosis and fragmented and chaotic care. I learned the hard way how to protect my daughter. Once, when Kate developed worrisome signs after a biopsy, our discharge papers directed us to contact the emergency room. Staffers there did not expect to be contacted for follow-up, and advised us to stay home. We missed...

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A Failure to Rescue – Donna Bajone

A Failure to Rescue – Donna Bajone

Some families have a member who radiates such innate happiness and light that she illuminates the lives of everyone fortunate enough to live in her orbit. For my family, that person was my late sister Donna. Donna was born in 1968 with a congenital heart defect and spent the first two years of her life struggling with bouts of heart failure, pneumonia, and the inability to grow and thrive. Her only hope was open heart surgery to correct an atrial septal defect, a ventricular septal defect, and mitral valve insufficiency. We were fortunate to live near Stanford University, where prominent...

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Our Goodbye to Kate

Our Goodbye to Kate

Eulogy read at the services for Katherine “Kate” Hallisy: At this difficult time we take solace in the outpouring of support for our family because the years have taught us that grief shared is grief diffused. It is time again to draw on the many strengths that sharing Kate’s life has given us. She taught us to search for our happiness, to choose to see the good in every person and every situation, and to treasure every small kindness, every tender mercy – because there were many. Because of Kate, we lived with everyday miracles and her glorious life always led us to the...

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