Monday, January 18, 2010

Death Can't Always Be Avoided

Death When It's Meant To Be

The patient died. It was no one’s fault but my friend who works in the emergency room told me about it and he was sad. People in healthcare recognize their own mortality when someone dies or may feel like they failed the patient and their family. Whatever reason, people who work in hospitals, I am convinced, have feelings. They love, they hurt and they anger. But we often don’t see that as the patient. We just want to get well and that’s what we go to the hospital for.

This becomes more of a reason for transparency. More of a reason I need to know what is happening in the hospital and the people in the hospital need to include the patient in the decision making and treatment plan. As part of my Fellowship with the American Hospital Association and National Patient Safety Foundation Patient Safety Leadership Training I am reading articles written for the medical professional about transparency. It is written for the healthcare workers but there can be much more for the public to help understand how errors happen.

If we felt we understood how errors happen, we can be more of a part of the team to help avoid them. A survey we are doing now is giving more and more input into medical errors. Patients and families who have been to the PULSE training are reporting what they see. By making patients and families aware of what to look for and how to speak up to avoid errors, we can play a role in stopping them. I am reading now how our training has stopped the error from reaching the patient. Hooray!

But, not all deaths are because of an error. And I want to still be sad for my friends in healthcare who are part of death, even when it was meant to be.

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