Tuesday, September 29, 2009

I received numerous copies of an editorial by Michael Cohen, President of ISMP. I like and really respect Michael. He is a smart and caring man and an advisor to PULSE of NY. But

I don’t want to respond to the individuals who are asking my opinion about this article. I don’t share the same views as other advocates. For that, I have lost many people over the years who I thought could have been long time friends. I don’t like to comment on individual stories because you can bet we will never get the whole truth – and nothing but the truth.

Michael Cohen wrote about a pharmacist who was jailed because of the death of a young child. An Injustice Has Been Done; Jail Time for an Error was written in response to the Ohio pharmacist who caused the death of a little girl. I can relate first hand to the parents anguish at having a child die BECAUSE of the medical treatment the parents trusted for their child.

I too thought of jail - or worse for the doctors when my son died because of his medical care, but in truth that wouldn’t solve anything. I would like to see those involved do community service with me, taking some of the calls I take or running a support group for people who lost a child from medical care. I would like to see this pharmacist do community education about medication errors and work with the community to teach patient safety information. I just can’t see jail time.

Even if this pharmacist was lousy at his job, had a bad attitude or was overtired, how will jail time fix that?

What should we do with someone who is driving and the sun gets in their eyes and they kill someone. How should they be treated if the family is angry and grieving but the driver stuck around to take responsibility? When someone is killed and no one takes responsibility, and doors get closed instead of offering empathy and answers, the family of the injured or deceased have every reason to be angry, and that anger will fester until the family becomes obsessed with grief, anger and revenge – and rightly so.

Unfortunately, we will never know all the details of this case but unless some good can come out of a medical professionals going to jail, I would like to see everyone make better use of their time.

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