Help Save Lives with A Click

Patient Safety Day is coming up on September 17th. If you’re reading this, no doubt you are already aware of the hazards that patients face in medical care.

I am so glad you’ve found us here at CampaignZERO because it means you’re being proactive — good for you!

Trust me when I tell you that you’re in the tiny minority of informed and active. So often I seem to get cross-eyed looks when people ask me about what I do and I say, “I help families learn how to get safe care for their loved ones in the hospital.” The reaction is usually puzzlement, with a response like:

”Isn’t that what doctors and nurses are for?”

“We use ‘X’ hospital for everything and it’s brand new, state-of-the-art.”

“That’s the reason I go to a doctor that’s affiliated with a teaching hospital, so I know I’ll be getting the best if I ever need it.”

“Our local hospital is wonderful. We know everyone there. My neighbor is Chief of Surgery and my son’s best friend’s mom is head of nursing.”

In every case, the real message is “I’m in a comfort zone” — please don’t invade it by telling me there’s one more thing in this life I need to worry about!

I get it! I’m the same way — I don’t want to hear about a problem without knowing the solution. I just can’t deal with the anxiety otherwise!

That’s why I founded CampaignZERO.

It’s for all of us who are aware of patient safety issues but need to feel we can do something about them — one patient at a time, beginning with those we love.

Would you help spread awareness…and our solutions? Please share CampaignZERO with your friends and family and we’ll all sleep better tonight!

Founder’s Note

When it comes to health care – especially in a crisis — conventional wisdom tells us, “Get a second opinion and take someone with you.” So we often find ourselves accompanying our spouse or parents to doctors’ appointments and through hospital stays to be a second pair of eyes and ears, absorbing critical information it is so hard for patients to process in a worried state.

This convention, this way to help those we love most, is great advice and we take a large measure of comfort in following it.  But think about it …

…How are any of us really trained to be effective health care advocates, an effective “Someone” for those we love?

Sure, we all know how to hold a hand, wipe a brow and occasionally fetch a nurse. My guess is that many of us also rely heavily on quick, prayerful barters with God. (Please make her well and I will never skip Sunday mass to play golf again.) But in our hearts we know that if the chips are down, our role as a Someone is to be our loved one’s lifeline to the best possible care—someone who may even make the difference between life and death.

A few years ago, our family of six siblings made a pact to be advocates for my father as he recovered from a hard-won lung transplant at a major academic hospital.  Grateful for our dad’s second chance after his diagnosis of incurable idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis, our entire family gladly turned our lives upside down to take turns at Dad’s bedside during his recovery.  Seven months and one day after his lung transplant, my father passed away after suffering a dozen preventable medical errors.  He never left the hospital and his new lung never had a fighting chance.

Two months later, I accompanied my husband as he underwent “routine” surgery.  Beset by error after error in surgery prep, on the operating table, in the ICU and on the acute care floor, it took him 18 months to recover instead of the seven days we expected.  During that time, our 11-year-old son was scheduled for emergency surgery to remove an appendix that turned out to be perfectly pink and healthy.

What our family did not know then—which we fully appreciate now—is that hundreds of thousands of patients are killed by medical errors every year. The death rate from preventable medical errors exceeds the death rate for AIDS, heart attack and stroke combined. Hundreds of thousands more are harmed but, like my husband and son, they are the lucky survivors—emotionally and physically maimed no doubt, but alive.

At some point in all of our lives, we will be the link between a patient we love and a medical team.  We can act on a wing and a prayer or we can be informed, confident and effective.

You’ve read this far… so I think I know your choice, and you have no idea how happy that makes me!  Won’t you join CampaignZERO?  There are no dues, no fees, no sponsorship needed.  Just use CampaignZERO checklists and share CampaignZERO with your family and friends.

Let’s build awareness together. Let’s support our health care providers. Let’s take care of each other.