Justin’s HOPE celebration dinner at the Institute for Healthcare Improvement #IHI forum, Orlando, 2010 with our scholarship winners and supporters! Click on photo for a facebook album of the event. Thank you to IHI, The Task Force for Global Health and all of our supporters that give me hope to continue this project that saves lives and warms my heart.
The highlight of the forum for me is always meeting the chosen beneficiaries of Justin’s scholarships each year and this was no exception. They were amazing health caregivers whose dedication to healing was impressed upon me at each encounter. Teaching and learning at every step.
This year was the first all day mini-course on pediatric patient safety that I’m aware of and my attendance there was rewarded by becoming a panel discussion member with other parents whose children had died or were injured by medical errors. Embracing us into the discussion and changing their curriculum was a breath of fresh air. The pediatrician leaders wanted to hear what we had to say and they got it.
Since a few of the moms had never spoken publicly about what happened to their child, this was an anxious moment for all of us. I asked them first if they were sure that they wanted to do this. The courage one musters up to share such personal feelings, loss and disappointment is unknown until you’re faced with doing it. They did beautifully and were pleased that they made that step toward making a difference. Thank you to the parents who found their voice and to the leaders of the “Pursuing Diagnostic Safety in Pediatrics” session: Drs. Peter Lachman, Jayant Deshpande, Stephen Muething, Anne Matlow, Paul Sharek and Matt Scanlon. See their new Paediatric International Patient Safety and Quality Collaborative which can be found here at PIPSQC http://www.pipsqc.org/
The IHI Forum was also a first for many patient activists/advocates/champions participating in a new collaborative session with hopes of working together to promote change from the patient and family perspective. Gaining momentum, support and partnerships from healthcare providers will move us forward sooner. Take a chance and invite us in.
For the first time in her new role as IHI President and CEO, Maureen Bisognano, addressed the forum audience eloquently describing the IHI mission and aim. Her words were emphatic, insisting on necessary engagement and participation, but wrapped in the warmth of her charm. Her leadership made us proud and I’m honored to call her friend.
I can’t say that I didn’t miss Don Berwick’s presence as I most certainly did. He’s always been there for me and I missed that special hug when I arrived. We all understand that we must now share him with the rest of the country. But, it was kind of sad. If there were guarantees in life, I would guarantee that you won’t be disappointed in his work at CMS so please embrace his wisdom and work with him, kindly. He knows healthcare from every aspect and I know thousands of healthcare providers and patients that have his back.
Thank you to the “blue shirts” who are IHI staff that were seen scurrying around the conference directing the attendees on their merry way. Standing ovation team!
I learned at another session the Justin’s story is told in Wales as “their healthcare story” so I was honored to meet Jonathan Gray, Sarah Puntoni and Tim Hayward after my ”Excellence” slides from 2001 were shown to the audience at “The Power of Stories: Successful Applications” session. I didn’t realize that I had made an international impact.
Back to pediatrics, which is my focus. As I was flying home after the conference and listening to the flight attendant repeat the oxygen mask instructions, I thought to myself…put the mask on yourself first, then the child. This will empower you to take care of your child in the event of tragedy. Since, I’ve been in this healthcare arena for almost ten years now, I have seen many initiatives focusing on adult patient safety improvements but pediatrics seems to have been left by the wayside at times. It’s kind of like the mask… where you keep the adult safe first then they can take care of the child. So, when will the focus turn to pediatric safety? It seems to have gotten stuck with the adults and the children are waiting for us to save them. They can’t do it without us. Not that there aren’t initiatives ongoing, but I think we can do more and better for our children.
My challenge would be for an increase in pediatric safety programs. I can guarantee that parents want the mask moved to the child now! Kids are dying needlessly and more funding must be focused on improvements in medication safety, infections, research, technology and seeing these children as children and not just as little adults. They are different and they are precious. It’s their turn now.