This weekend, Martha Deed–who recently shared her story with Consumers Union’s Safe Patient Project–was published in The Buffalo News. Martha’s daughter died in a New York ICU where she had been successfully treated for swine flu. According to Martha, she died of a hospital-acquired infection that lodged in her spine, leaving her in excruciating pain and paralyzed from the chest down for the last two weeks of her life. The cause of her death was found at autopsy. Martha told us: “My hope is that people will be encouraged to tell their stories once they read this essay and realize they are not alone.”

We read many stories like this–they are tragic. By shedding light on these problems with stories and requiring public disclosure of hospital infections and other medical errors, our health care system will be on the path to change. If you have a story to share about yourself or a loved one about a hospital infection, or know someone who does, we want to hear about your experience. Click here to take one of our surveys.

Real stories like Martha’s raise awareness of the public and policymakers to the problems we still face with hospital-acquired infections. Like Martha said, “Revealing patients’ suffering and damage to families and communities as a result of mistakes can strengthen a community’s determination to improve patient safety in local hospitals.”