This week I read a new article written by a dedicated patient safety advocate, Kerry O’Connell, published in Health Affairs, a prestigious healthcare journal. In “Two Arms, Two Choices: If Only I’d Known Then What I know Now,” Kerry shares his health care journey that began in 2004 when he decided to get surgery to repair his left arm that was hurt from a fall. At that time, Kerry trusted his doctors and the health care system to fix his arm. But Kerry ended up with a paralyzed left arm, a deep-muscle MRSA surgical site infection, more surgeries and lifelong chronic pain. Through these series of painful events, Kerry became an expert on the human and financial costs of medical harm.
Read Kerry’s story in his own words here.
Our health care system should learn from people like Kerry, and help patients make informed decisions by giving them information about problems with doctors and medical implants. As Kerry said, “we shouldn’t all have to learn everything the painful way, through tragic individual experiences.”