Something about the cats
Something about the dogs
Something about patchwork
Something about patient safety
When harm has been done
Henning's experiences with cancer>
The Patient's Guide
In the weekend 13 to 15 April 2007 I participated in a workshop arranged by The Danish Society for Patient Safety. The purpose was to prepare a select group of 15 people for a role as 'patient ambassador'. We hope to put a human face on the statistics of errors made in the health system, and ultimately to help prevent errors from occurring.
On the background of Henning's death as a result of being given the wrong medication, which led to an unnecessarily painful and fearful last illness for him lasting 2 weeks, I would like to contribute with my experiences to this work. Especially since I am convinced that his death at that time was the result of the medication errors.
Errors in the treatment of patients in the healthcare system does not only cause harm to the patients, but also to the health care staff, who often have difficulties in handling the situation when it occurs. A lot is expected from the healthcare staff, and often a lot of pressure is on them to do the best possible job under not very good conditions. Not very many hospitals, if any, have the ideal number of nurses or doctors, to consider just one point. No one believes that the staff make errors on purpose, and therefore it is important to open up for a dialogue between patient and staffl, since the patient in his/her way is the specialist in his/her condition. Through illnesses of long duration the patient meets many different doctors, nurses and other healthcare staff, but only the patient participates throughout, and therefore only the patient knows the whole sequence of events.
Not to respect the experiences and viewpoints of the patient and close relatives concerning treatment and care is very unfortunate, since they can contribute much essential information.
On the page "When harm has been done" I have placed the first product of the patient ambassadors' work: A set of recommendations on how the patient and close relatives want to be met when an error has occurred.
Activities I participate in: Leadership walk-rounds in large hospital, talk on patient safety to students, patient safety conferences, and other related activities.