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Consumers Union, Safe Patient Project Summit

November 15th, 2010 Leave a comment Go to comments

Last week, I attended my first CU Safe Patient Project Summit.  Besides the incredible CU staff, about 30 grassroots activists and patient advocates from all over the US attended.  There were the “old timers” and some new faces too.  In that group is the most incredible pool of experiences and knowledge I have ever known.  Our knowledge and wisdom is not really anything we have sought out. This is not a club that people clamor to be part of.  Each of us has had a tragedy in our lives, a loss, a horror that hurts every time we talk about it.  Either we have lost a loved one or some have suffered themselves because of medical error or hospital acquired infection.  Amongst us are mothers, fathers, sisters, brothers, daughters and sons,  of people who have died or become severely disabled because of  a failure in our healthcare system.  We have a beautiful member who is still suffering and who will this month, have her first day in 4 years without a hole in her gut from flesh eating infection contracted in a hospital.  We have another who was rendered blind during surgery.  These are unspeakable tragedies, and yet we all share this common thread.  We talk to each other about our pain and loss, we cry, and then we haul out the BIG GUNS.

Each of us have done incredible things in our own states and communities to make a difference for others.  None of us want these horrible things to happen to anyone else in our families or our communities.  So, we have taken it upon ourselves to stop the horror.  We have taken on our State hospital and medical associations, our hospitals, our legislators, and others in power to change the broken system that has killed or maimed us or our loves ones.  We don’t know the word “failure”.  It is not an option because it means more will suffer. The healthcare system has already failed, so it’s nothing we will accept.

These meetings are heartbreaking, enlightening, validating. stimulating, educational, and most of all necessary.  We compare notes, share successes, and strategize for future work.  We compile our work and our personal “best practices” and take them home to help us succeed in our next steps toward healthcare safety improvements.

CU gets it.  They know exactly what they are doing by bringing us all together.  Our work, as individuals and as a union will get noticed.  We, with the help of CU, are moving or busting up the big  boulders in our way. We are a movement that will not be ignored or stopped.

Thank you CU for drawing me into this movement.

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  1. November 15th, 2010 at 09:41 | #1

    Excellent, Kathy. You have proved a force to be reckoned with in Maine, and your activism will no doubt help propel improvement on a national level as well.

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