By John Joseph, MS2 Wayne State School of Medicine
We completed the first day of the Telluride Patient Safety Summer Camp and I can say already that I am so glad I took the time to make the trip out. Telluride is a beautiful place and the enthusiasm and passion of the participants and leaders has reignited my interest. The lesson that stood out the most to me today was the video put together by Drs. Mayer and McDonald on the heartbreaking case of Lewis Blackman. His mother, Helen Haskell, fought tremendously for Lewis while he was in the hospital (and she continues to fight the system that killed him to this day) after a routine surgery. She trusted her instincts that something was wrong and repeatedly pushed for more senior physicians to examine Lewis, over and over and over. I was shocked that despite her insistence, that her requests were not honored. I was also horrified to think that if this type of cascade of errors can persist when the patient has a vocal advocate like Helen, what must happen to patients that are alone or do not have advocates that feel comfortable or able to question at all? How many children and adults have died because they did not have someone on their side? This hammered home the need for patient advocates and I look forward to learning more about their roles and implementation later in the week.