Hospital infections leave a lasting impact on the individuals and families who had to experience them. For Mary Brennan-Taylor, hospital infections took the life of her mother, Alice Brennan, who passed away in 2009 after entering the hospital for pain and swelling in her leg. While in the hospital, Alice contracted three hospital-acquired infections: MRSA, C. diff and VRE. Then Alice passed away due to sepsis, an infection of the bloodstream.

Before she entered the hospital, Alice was a vibrant 88-year-old woman. Mary told the Lockport Union-Sun & Journal: “She was spontaneous and funny, just hysterical, she was a cross between Lucille Ball and Carol Burnett. She lived on her own, she drove her own car and had a more active social schedule than I could ever have,” said Mary.

After her mother’s death, Mary researched as much as possible about medical harm, shared her story with our Safe Patient Project, and became a dedicated patient safety advocate in her state of New York.

Mary transformed her grief into action, teaming up with the University of Buffalo’s School of Medicine and Biomedical Sciences and as an appointed adjunct research instructor to educate future doctors and nurses about the human impact of medical harm and the actions they can take to prevent such harm. You can read more about the program here or watch the UB video:

UPDATE (August 22, 2011): Mary Brennan-Taylor’s advocacy featured in the Wall Street Journal!