Saturday, July 26, 2008

Patient Safety Day 2008

We held our Patient Safety Day program last night at the South Nassau Unitarian Universalist Congregation in Freeport Long Island.

I was thrilled with the turn out. Old friends from years ago returned and new friends were made by people who came to hear the stories and the lessons we have to share. I was happy with the content of the program. Our speakers were powerful and truthful. They told their stories and shared their experiences that changed their life forever so others can learn. I’m sure it was healing and helpful for many to be there. I was so sad to be there.

If only there was another way that we can tell people about patient safety without getting into the details of a death or injury. If only we didn’t need to stand in front of a room full people and cry because of our pain. But, I don’t see that happening soon and I also don’t see the healthcare system doing a great job keeping us safe - yet. Our community education can work, if there was more of it. But we have to be out there doing it. There just isn't a big enough call to learn about patient safety, health literacy and diversity or infection control.

We lit candles and shared stories and said a prayer for those who couldn’t be with us and those names we hold close in our heart.

Leonard told us again about his wife’s death and how he plays mom and dad to his 3 children. His daughter is 9 now and it was her birthday the 24th of July. She is a constant memory of his wife’s death at childbirth from a misplaced epidural.

Mary spoke about her husband who died when a sponge was left inside of him during surgery. The sponge dislodged and killed her husband.

Meryl uses words like torment and murder. Not knowing the details of why her dad died and not ever having a conversation with the hospital, her anger may never change.

There are so many stories. I begin to want to hear them all but I don’t. I want to help them all, but I can’t.

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