Monday, August 25, 2008

The Quaid Family Tragedy

Many of you may have watched 60 Minutes last night. It was a repeat of a story first aired last spring and chronicled the harrowing experience of the Quaid Family (click here for video). Dennis Quaid, the actor, and his wife's newborn twins were accidentally overdosed on Heparin in a California hospital. The babies survived the ordeal, but the Quaids are speaking out about preventable medical errors.

MITSS posted to the 60 Minutes blog last spring, and we'd like to reaffirm our response to the story here:

Our thoughts and prayers go out to the Quaid family. Medical errors and bad outcomes are a huge problem in healthcare demanding urgent attention by hospitals, physicians, nurses, pharmacists, insurers, regulatory agencies, patients and their families, and everyone else involved. We must all work together to come up with effective solutions -- there is far too much at stake. In the interests of balance and fairness, 60 Minutes should have included the many organizations involved in heroic efforts all over the country in terms of prevention. Still, little attention has been paid to the devastating emotional toll taken on patients, family members, and care providers. We are a non-profit organization dedicated to supporting everyone impacted by a bad medical outcome. Even in the safest of systems, things can and do go wrong. Errors occur at a huge financial cost to the system, but let's not ignore the human cost on both sides of the equation.

It wasn't clear from the piece, but it didn't appear that Dennis, his wife, or any of the clinicians were offered any emotional support following the event. The event must have profoundly impacted the pharmacists, nurses, and physicians involved. Emotional support needs to be "hard wired" into the system when anything goes wrong, for care providers as well as patients and their families. It's simply the right thing to do.

Monday, August 11, 2008


We highly recommend a new book, The Best Practice, written by former Boston Globe journalist Charles Kenney. The book tells the story of some of the pioneers of the health care quality movement, from Don Berwick to Lucian Leape, who are finding ways to eliminate preventable medical errors and transforming American medicine in the process.

As an added bonus for MITSS, the Institute for Healthcare Improvement (IHI) has generously arranged for 10% of purchases made through a special link to be donated to MITSS. To purchase a copy of The Best Practice through this special arrangement, click here.

Friday, August 8, 2008

Where can you find MITSS this week? The Boston Herald!

This article in the Boston Herald from Sunday 8/3/08 features MITSS founder and Executive Director, Linda Kenney, and one of MITSS’ esteemed board members, Jim Conway. They were asked to comment on the progress and trajectory of apology and disclosure in medicine. Although we are always pleased when this topic is highlighted, it is likely that the column inches allotted were not enough to do it justice. So, we would like to put the question to you: How do you see the progress and direction of apology and disclosure in healthcare? How does it impact you personally?
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