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They called me crazy!

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.







  1. Suzan Shinazy RN
    June 19th, 2013 at 13:20 | #1

    If it is crazy to try to make this a safer world for patients, sign me up for crazy. I stand with you Kathy! I am in awe of the work you do and the difference you have made.

  2. June 19th, 2013 at 18:24 | #2

    Let’s make healthcare CRAZY-SAFE !!

  3. Vallery
    July 15th, 2013 at 07:29 | #3

    My husband went in for total hip replacement 2011 and came out worse. He got MRSA. He has as 6 hip surgery and still has the MRSA. So now they want to take it out and put in a antibotice spacer and get rid of MRSA before they put they hip back in. But my husband don’t know if he wants to go through it again because how do they know it will work.I think the hospital should paid for all the bills that we have now for th MRSA that he got at the hospital.

  4. Kathy
    July 22nd, 2013 at 07:51 | #4

    Vallery, I am so sorry to hear about your husbands horrible experience with MRSA after hip replacement. It still happens way too often, and there are still some orthopedic surgeons who do not follow effective and appropriate preventative pre and post op practices.
    The most important thing for your husband to do is to get rid of MRSA, before it spreads beyond his hip. I personally know 3 men who went through exactly the same thing that your husband is going through (two knee replacements, 1 hip replacement) They all suffered a great deal but they did beat MRSA, and all 3 did get new joints with success. They all said that recovery is longer the second time around, but none of them got MRSA again. It seems that your husband’s only option for a good recovery is to get the spacer and then the new hip.
    I agree that he should not have to pay for all the bills that are a result of his Hospital Acquired Surgical Site infection. Get all itemized bills, get copies of all his records, and keep a journal, and then consider what you will do about that later, but right now, his health is the priority. If you are uncomfortable with going back to the same orthopedic surgeon, consider a second opinion and maybe even a different hospital. I hope this advice helps. I am so sorry that you and your husband are going through this.

  5. Beth
    July 30th, 2013 at 20:59 | #5

    Hello Kathy,

    You were a speaker at a conference I attended this Spring on chronic illness. After speaking with you in the lunch line I realized I should have gone to your talk. I have a strong interest in patient rights and advocacy. I was trying to find out how to send you a private email but I don’t see that option on this site.

    I am looking for information/trends/policies on patient’s access to their medical records. Specifically in acute situations when records are needed in a timely manner so patient’s can read them before they make decisions about further care while a patient in a hospital. I know hospitals are required to give you a copy of your records but they have 30 days to do it. But there seems to be inconsistencies when patients ask for medical records during a hospitalization or at the time of an urgent care visit. Why are all these records not available to the patient electronically and instantly? Are there model hospitals for this? You can reach me at the email listed

  6. December 9th, 2013 at 11:03 | #6

    Proud of you and all you do. Crazy is a pre-requisite for change. So, I am proud to be crazy like you.

    I don’t know who is crazier. You are making a huge change for patients. To have your first “cease and desist ” order you are making an impact. Frame it and smile, they have not shut you up my friend. They will not stop you.

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