Telluride Reflections by Patient Advocate Melissa Clarkson: Part Two

I am now back in Seattle, home from the Telluride Patient Safety Roundtable & Summer Camp. I am very thankful I had the opportunity to participate. It was emotionally exhausting (I cried the first three of the four days), but I have a sense of hope. I met leaders in patient safety—some of whom I had seen in online videos, others I had not heard of. But the message from all of them was clear: There is no compromise in patient safety. No compromise in disclosure. No compromise in informed consent. Safety and transparency must underlie all of healthcare.And that is a very different perspective than my family has encountered in Kansas, at both the local hospital we are dealing with and at the state level. So today I feel hope knowing that my family is not alone, but I also feel overwhelmed knowing that those of us who believe in safety and transparency—and are not willing to back down—face tremendous obstacles. We have to change systems that would rather employ short-term thinking (don’t tell the patient or family what happened; blame the nurse for the error the system set her up to make) rather than long-term thinking (let’s uphold the patient’s right to know what has happened to his or her body; let’s talk about harm incidents with everyone involved and hold ourselves accountable for delivering safe care—whether that means improvements in our system or our communication or our training). To read the rest of Melissa’s post, click here…

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