Seeing the Patient as Family – Day #2

I had many “aha!” moments yesterday, but the one that has stuck with me the most happened after we watched Just a Routine Operation. Chris asked us to close our eyes and imagine the deteriorating patient before us. Then we opened our eyes and discussed what that felt like. But it was the next reflection – closing our eyes and imagining that the patient was a loved one – that really affected me. All of a sudden, I felt so uncomfortable. There’s no way I would want to operate on my family or friends, especially after realizing that they were quickly deteriorating. I wouldn’t be able to stay calm and handle that professionally because I would be too involved from an emotional standpoint. After I mentioned this, Chris asked something along the lines of “why do we leave or forget that connection with the patient? When do they… Continue reading

Napa 2019 – Day 2

Today one of the main topics we covered was effective communication. As long as I can remember I have been a fast talker, fast to the point that many folks often have a hard time catching what I am saying…this on top of all the other difficult factors that lead to misinterpreted messages that Carole taught us today. Listening to my own voice on the Instagram videos of a colleague today while trying to enjoy the festivities hosted by The Doctor’s Company, I couldn’t help but cringe at my pace of my words simply saying “thank you so much for having us.” How much more difficult would I be to understand when trying to explain complex diagnoses or treatment plans?

Throughout my first two years of medical school I have had ample opportunity to be recorded while working with standardized patients, but each time avoided completing a thorough review of… Continue reading

Telluride: Day 2

The power of storytelling is a powerful tool, and I feel like the main takeaway from today was the impact of stories. I don’t think I’ve ever been so moved by so many patient stories than today, and what is more surprising to me is how wrong our perceptions of our patients were. Today we learned that what patients usually feel after a medical error has occurred is shock and/or disbelief, not anger. It was fascinating to hear how selfish it was for doctors to assume that patients would be angry at us and how this was a reflection of how, as doctors, we care more about protecting ourselves than protecting the patient.

Another thing that I found shocking was how different the outcomes were for all 3 of the stories we heard today about medical errors. They were all heartbreaking, but with one showing the extreme end of kindness,… Continue reading

Emotional and Mental Health

Today’s overarching theme seemed to be centered around emotional and mental health. Hearing how Helen and Carol wrestled with their feelings of guilt and constant search for answers tugged closely at my heartstrings. As providers, we are so focused on healing patients and family members physically that sometimes we struggle to consider how people may need to heal mentally. I was astonished at how Helen and Carol expressed their concerns about the feelings of the healthcare providers involved with their loved ones care. It wasn’t even something I would have expected to cross their minds or ever be a concern to them. In truth, it made me disappointed in myself because, despite Helen’s and Carol’s experiences, they cared more about our healthcare provider’s emotional and mental well being probably more than we even do for ourselves on a daily basis.

Day 2

The past two days have been amazing.  I have learned so much.  In some ways I am heartbroken because I have missed so much at home, including my oldest sons first day of third grade-which at this moment I do not think he will let me live down.  However, I am here because I understand the value of investment.  I am here to learn how to make health care a safer place.  I am here to figure out how to right the wrong that took place over ten years ago when my father was still alive.  You see, I live with the guilt that I didn’t do more and in a way I feel like I didn’t matter enough.  This is something that I have struggled with for a long time, but have never found the right outlet to express my feelings.

Over… Continue reading

Telluride Napa: Day 2

It was another amazing day in Napa. Some of my favorite parts of the day involved our guests and faculty that shared their stories and served on a panel. We were introduced to Jack’s story today and I was inspired by his positive outlook after his medical error occurred. It shows pure determination and supports the premise that be open and honest as a provider, such as his provider was with him, can preserve a patient-provider relationship.  I also really appreciated the panel discussion that we had with Carol, Helen, and Jack. They each had there own input on a variety of patient safety questions and how the family responded to their specific events. They also highlighted the importance of communication between providers and families. After our programming today, we were able to go to a reception offered by The Doctor’s Company. It was such a nice experience and… Continue reading

The Telluride Experience Day 2

The second day of the Telluride Experience added fuel towards my interest in patient safety. Dr. Mayer had another great introduction as he open the meeting with a lecture format focused on reflection. Dr. Mayer state, “Be very mindful. This means when you notice things that are not right act on it”. This message had a positive impact since majority of individuals in the healthcare field would not speak up either because they are afraid of the pressure or they do not want to get out of their scope of practice. Another thing that stuck out to me was when John Nance spoke up and said, raise your hand if your institution trains you to be perfect” and 90% of the students raised their hands. Following that question, John asked again, “How many of you are perfect” no one raised their hand. This showed a good example of what the… Continue reading

One Step At A Time

These past two days have been a whirlwind of emotions and reflections on my own personal experiences. The stories that have been shared and the thought provoking discussions have been eye-opening. There is so much the healthcare systems needs to fix. To be honest, at times it seems more overwhelming than inspiring. But I figure if there is just one simple thing I can do to make one patient safe, than I’ve made a difference. If I do multiple simple things to improve my patients’  safety, then an even bigger impact can be made. I want to take it one step at a time and there are already ideas that have been shared that I hope to bring back to my medical school so at least introduce my classmates into the essential world of patient safety.

His Name was Bill

Today I had the humbling opportunity to hear stories from individuals whose lives were turned upside down as a result of medical error. They spoke with grace, conviction, and courage. They also spoke with frustration and sadness. Their stories are important and what they shared today is heart-breaking. Their stories need to be heard, not only in the medical community but also throughout the general public.

As I reflect on the many stories I have read and heard surrounding medical error and the horrifying impact these errors have had on patients and their families, I am ashamed and heart broken. We, physicians, nurse practitioners, physician assistants, nurses, assistants, enter the health care field to heal, to bring hope, and to be there to provide comfort and expertise in, perhaps, one of the darkest hours of an individual’s life. However, as medical error seeps into our interactions and creates a culture… Continue reading

Day 1 at Napa Valley

As I reflect on Day 1 in Napa Valley, I was amazed with how much I learned and how much my perspective changed. I realized that it takes a lot of courage and energy to be a leader. I thought about our purpose as a health care worker. Often we are focused on getting the work done (task oriented) as opposed to mindful purposeful engagement. I agree that often we want to hide our mistakes because of shame or fear but the reality is we need to learn from our mistakes if we want true growth to take place. I thought about working in Bronx, New York where it is a true melting pot of different cultures. We work with so many different people from different cultures and races. Have we done our best to take into consideration cultural issues and gender issues when it comes to communication. Can we… Continue reading

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