Sunday, June 15, 2008

Fountain of ….Youth?

What is the real fountain of youth? It is where people stay forever young, no?

The National Patient Safety Foundation congress in Nashville Tennessee offered many of us the real fountain of youth. It was a beautiful 3 layered fountain, set back in the area where people gathered, that we were to put flowers in as we remembered those who have lost their struggle or continue to live with their struggle of medical error, adverse medical events or unplanned outcomes in care.

It was a beautiful opportunity to remember why we were all there. To remember bad outcomes and avoid them in the future.

The NPSF has been a leader in keeping the patients voice in patient safety. The patient can mean the one’s who have used the healthcare system and received less than acceptable results. The family can mean the people who lost someone close to them from an untoward event or who help their family through the complicated medical care as part of the team. In this case, with the “fountain” which I will call the fountain of youth, has given us the symbolic gesture of seeing how many were there because of whom they lost or who they wanted to honor. A patient, friend or family member, we were there for the same reason. To remember and make sure it doesn’t happen again.

I hope the NPSF continues this symbolic tradition to help us remember publicly or privately, why we are there. This is the Fountain of Youth because those who have lost the battle from a medical error will stay young our hearts.