Saturday, November 6, 2010

Winner of the MITSS HOPE Award

Honoring Outstanding People Everywhere

I was nominated and won the MITSS HOPE award this year. I am on cloud nine - just floating after this wonderful evening of networking, sharing and making new friends. It is not “just” an award. This award has special meaning. I had 3 nominations! Jennifer Dingman, Sandra and Ed Gold and Jeff Cooper Ph.D. Jeff, I know as a brilliant man who has been in the patient safety industry before anyone of us nonmedical people ever heard the term. And Jeff was there to see me accept it. (photo right)

Linda Kenney, the Executive Director and founder of MITSS is a friend and a colleague. She started MITSS because of her own tragic experience during surgery and turned her organization into a partnership of healing for patients, families and the providers after an adverse outcome. The audience was filled with medical professionals, hospital administrators and community members who want to help make a difference.

Linda has taken time away from her own organization to see that others, doing similar work are recognized. The lack of competitiveness and commitment to patient safety shows the character of the woman behind MITSS and this award.

Finally, there was a very generous $5,000.00 check behind this award donated by RL Solutions. I spend hours and sometimes days writing grants for $5,000.00 for PULSE of NY just to be turned down and here, I just had to show up for a dinner! This is a company that not only says they support the work we all do in patient safety, but is willing to put their money up to prove it!

When I listened to Sanja Malaviya, President and CEO of RL Solutions (left)introduce me, and read off all that I have accomplished, it made me realize that I feel good about the work that I have done in the past 12 years to help improve patient’s safety, build partnerships and offer support to the patient, family and community who experience medical injury - or fear for their safety.

But, something was lacking in the introduction. The work that I have done and all my accomplishments have not struck Long Island or New York hospitals yet. The people I worry about most, and care for so deeply, have barely been touched by my work. I still don’t feel “safe” in our local hospitals when we do not have enough information locally about patient safety.

What are the safety measures and what can we, the community or customer of the health system do for our safety when using a local hospital? As I teach the public about patient safety and the need for partnerships, it seems like such a slow process. I may have been involved in the movement of patient safety but what are we all doing, in partnership, to keep us safe? As long as it’s a secret, we won’t know and we can't help.

Don’t you want to know?

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