Telling our stories about hospital infections and medical errors is often difficult. It can be downright painful to talk about our personal experience that may have resulted in permanent injury, lost time, or the death of a loved one. But a growing number of patients are turning their stories into consumer swords that can help save lives.
I’d like to point you to four of those brave patients, who debuted their videos to lawmakers at the Massachusetts State House and encouraged them to take an active role to improve patient safety. The videos were produced by the Consumer Health Quality Council, a project of Health Care for All in Massachusetts.
Click here to view the stories of Taylor, Brian, Antonio and Marie, who fell through the cracks of an unsafe medical system and now their families have become activists in their honor.
Medical errors and hospital infections injure millions of patients each year and combined represent the third leading cause of death in America.
Stories like these send the powerful message to lawmakers and the public that we are taking action. The stories were picked up by Boston media outlet NECN and helped build momentum for a landmark patient victory in Massachusetts.
Last week, the Massachusetts legislature approved regulations to ban drug company gifts to doctors and mandated disclosure of fees for consulting. “Massachusetts is now the only state to require disclosure by device makers, as well as drug companies, and just one of two states to make disclosures public, officials said,” reported the Boston Globe. A national bill to report payments to doctors (“Physician Payments Sunshine Act”) has been re-introduced in Congress and is very likely to pass this year, said Kathleen Meriwether at a national biotech summit.
Requiring transparency and accountability in our medical system will do more to keep patients safe. By shedding light on the errors that too frequently occur we are driven to demand better.
Every patient has the right to life-saving information such as hospital infection rates. We just need every hospital in America to realize this. We want tragic experiences, like the ones told in these videos, to be eliminated by an improved standard of care and operation across the board.