Patient Safety Week: What Affected Families Really Want After A Medical Error
It’s National Patient Safety Week, with hospitals focused on improving safety culture - which is critical with an alarming 200,000-400,000 deaths a year from medical errors. Dr Carol Gunn is encouraged that this week there will be more discussions within and outside of hospitals regarding patient safety.
“Seeing an increased interest in patient safety is critical, since so many people have been affected by errors,” said Dr Carol E Gunn, a practicing physician. She knows all too well. Her older sister died from delays in diagnosing chest pain at a well-respected teaching hospital in 2014. It literally took months for her sister’s doctors to identify that her ongoing chest pain was related to her heart. By the time they did, her sister’s heart was so badly damaged that she had a fatal cardiac arrhythmia days later and died. Dr Gunn found the errors and brought them back to the hospital’s attention.
“But what is often misunderstood, is what most affected families really want more than anything else…that is, assurance that the health care system fully evaluated and rectified what happened to their loved one, so that another person won’t suffer the same fate.” Patients and families want to help identify necessary changes, but rarely are they included in any discussions. “It is time to change that.”
Dr Gunn recently gave a Tedx called, “Medical Errors: The Silent Killer in Medicine” that has been be released to YouTube. She found that sharing her sister’s and her story to be cathartic. Her new website offers others the opportunity to share their stories of medical errors at http://www.CarolGunnMD.com website.
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