I recently ran into a doctor, that I knew during my work on MRSA prevention in 2009. Well, actually I corralled him in a lobby after he did a presentation at a recent conference I attended. He remembered me, and he didn’t call on me for Q&A, so I decided not to let him get away with that. I have never been rude to anyone in my work, but I am certainly determined and honest.
His demeanor has changed drastically from when he testified against the bill I wrote in 2009, to prevent MRSA infections in Maine Hospitals. I don’t know if he was afraid of me because I am bigger than him, or if he agreed with others who called me crazy 4 years ago, but I sensed his discomfort while talking with me. Even so, he was incredibly candid. He actually told me that “they” called me crazy and they thought I would quit and give up on my endeavor for safer healthcare. He was a more humble and agreeable man than I remember. I believe that his personal healthcare experiences with his beloved parents have changed his tune. It’s amazing how humbling an experience with healthcare harm can change just about anyone’s perspective on the whole issue.
Imagine…calling me crazy. Perhaps I was a little crazy. I was crazy with anger and grief, because a downright dangerous healthcare system killed my father. His infection WAS preventable, but his facility failed him. I believe that my craziness was justifiable. My craziness led to passion and an obsession of sorts. That passion was to make a change in the lax and cavalier system that allowed this to happen to my father, and as I learned later, hundreds of thousands of others. Passion led me to others, MRSA activists and experts, the internet, other MRSA victims and their families, legislators here in Maine, media both written and TV, the Consumers Union Safe Patient Project, Maine Quality Counts, Maine Quality Forum, Maine CDC, CDC headquarters, the Federal DHS HAI stakeholder meetings, speaking and presentation opportunities, conferences, blogging….and on and on it goes. My trip because of my craziness continues to be amazing. The most amazing part of this work has been the other “crazy” people I have met. Some of the most amazing patient safety experts and advocates in the world are on my email list.
Call me crazy, but I’m feeling pretty good about what I am doing….and if it helps to eliminate healthcare harm….we can add craziness to the list of necessary ingredients for success.