After the tragic and preventable death of her mother in August 2009, Mary Brennan-Taylor of Lockport, NY contacted Consumers Union wanting to know what she could do to help bring about needed change so that no other patient and their family would have to go through what her mother and family endured. Through her hard work educating future doctors and nurses about medical harm, and presenting at national meetings on hospital infections, Mary has been incredibly effective at bringing attention to life threatening hospital infection issues.

Now, Mary’s story and advocacy work is featured in a U.S. News and World Report story which highlights the disturbing prevalence of medical harm and what some hospitals have done to address this deadly problem. Read the online version here. This is a huge recognition of her advocacy work!

(Photo: Alice Brennan, mother of Mary Brennan-Taylor)

Reading the story, we are reminded of what Mary’s mother, Alice Brennan, had to suffer unnecessarily because of poor infection control measures and other problems. “Dear God, you shouldn’t go into a hospital a fairly robust 88-year-old woman with gout and die 48 days later of sepsis,” said Mary Brennan-Taylor in U.S. News and World Report.

As patients and future patients, we are thankful for Mary’s work to challenge a hospital culture that still takes patient safety for granted. Patients can take steps to avoid being harmed, such as speaking up and insisting that doctors and nurses tell you about the procedures they are about to perform and what medications they plan to give you. But we need a greater commitment from all hospitals to do what it takes to achieve zero harm.

We wanted to end by sharing this 2011 video of Mary speaking about her patient safety work at the University at Buffalo: