Going the distance….

At the close of our first day in Telluride, I find myself hopeful.  Today we were presented with the story of Lewis Blackman.  The tragedy of medical errors involving his case were not in vain. I believe we have become a culture that would protect Lewis Blackman if he were in our hospital today.   I found myself surprised by how far we have come in patient safety in the last decade.  And I feel confident many of the failures of his case would not occur today.  Am I foolish to be this hopeful?  I believe we as a medical community have learned from our past and strive to not repeat it.  Safety mechanisms are now in place that would have prevented Lewis Blackman’s tragic end.  At Medstar GUH, we have a list of mandatory events that demand contact with the on call attending, the issues in Lewis Blackman’s case would have warranted that contact and prevented the harm.  Maybe I am foolish, but I hope that in today’s culture, we would have saved Lewis and he could have had the opportunity to take that plane ride he never did.  I need to believe.

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