Monday, July 27, 2009

Patrick Malone's "Memo to Congress"
Memo to Congress: Listen to the Patients on National Patient Safety Day

As I read through Mr. Malone’s blog post, for the secon time, I was reminded of all that I had been aware of in my thirty year nursing career. I could only hope that elected officials read his blog post, or talked with the many families who stood and lit a candle in memory of a loved one who had died, suffered, or was harmed as a result of a preventable error. Hopefully, Mr. Malone has more pull ,with our congress, then the many patient advocates who were involved in World Patient Safety Day, July 25th.

My first introduction, to World Patient Safety Day, July 25th, was when I became acquainted with Ms. Patti O’Regan, ARNP (Nurse Practitioner) who Founded WorldPatient Safety Day (July 25th) in 2001. I am so grateful, and appreciative, that I was able to become involved , with Ms. O’Regan, in World Patient Safety Day. First, because I am a Registered Nurse and have always fought for the delivery of quality safe care. Often, ridiculed by those I worked with, or even told, by my supervisors, or coworkers, ‘hush, leave it alone, ignore it”. However, I could never leave it alone, or ignore it, because that patient deserved to have quality safe care. Second, was because I was a family member of one who, in my opinion, suffered daily, for years, before she died as a result of health care situations and events that should have never happened. Also, my father acquired a health care associated infection (HAI), of which took months and months of recuperation, taking valued time from his life. This continued to place him in an even more vulnerable position.

My philosophy was to treat patients, as I would want myself, or a loved one treated. But, unfortunately, as we see, this does not always happen. My father, 90, who has experienced, more than his share, in the health care system, has a saying of which he has stated to many a staff person, over the years. “If you don’t care about people, or what you are doing, you should not be in the field of helping others.”

Mr Malone mentions being honest when mistakes are made. I believe, wholeheartedly, that when a preventable mistake occurs, it is crucial that health care providers meet with the patient and/or family and discuss that which happened. True transparency is being honest and as stated in Mr. Malone's blog --- learning from mistakes. My thought, at this time, 'mistakes that should have never happened'.

Over the many years of my working in health care, I have seen a lot and have been certainly informed of a great deal, more than I wanted to know, at times. However, the bottom line is that there is no room for preventable mistakes.

Another aspect of patient safety is that health care providers must buy-into the fact that patients and their loved ones have a right to ask questions and question what which is being done to their bodies.

San Diego Mayor Jerry Sanders, Senator Denise Moreno Ducheny and Assemblymember Mary Salas have all recognized July 25th, 2009 as Patient Safety Day.

Hopefully, we will have more of our elected officials, both at state and federal level, recognized July 25th, each year, as World Patient Safety Day.

In my last thought, I wonder how many, of our elected officials, have a loved one who has died, suffered, or been harmed as a result of a preventable error? If there are any of you out there, did you recognize World Patient Safety Day, July 25th?

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