Thursday, May 01, 2008

Just another day of surgery

I shared a podium today at a Boston University continuing medical education symposium with Linda K. Kenney, founder of Medically Induced Trauma Support Services, or MITSS. Her story and message were riveting.

On November 18, 1999, Linda went in for orthopaedic surgery on her ankle. By mistake, some of the nerve blocking medication went into her bloodstream during her pre-op preparation, causing a major seizure and full cardiac arrest. She woke up to find that her chest had been cracked open, where the doctors had performed open heart surgery to save her life. Later, someone lied to her and told her that the problem had been an allergic reaction to anaesthesia. Nobody talked to her the whole time about the real cause of the problem at the hospital, nor was there any follow-up concern showed after she arrived at home.

Out of this experience, Linda was motivated to create MITSS in May 2002, to create awareness and to provide open support services to all -- patients, families, and clinicians -- affected by medical events. She invented the term "medically induced trauma" to mean an unexpected outcome that occurs during medical and/or surgical care that affects the emotional well being of the patient, family and/or clinician.

Please check the website for more information about the services offered.

A footnote: Linda still goes to the hospital at which this occurred. See describes this as a peculiar kind of loyalty akin to co-dependant spouses with marital problems, and she notes, "I'll keep going back and watch how they are improving against themselves." Proving again that public disclosure of clinical outcomes is not a matter of creating competitive advantage or assigning blame: It is a tool for holding ourselves accountable to our own high standards for safety and quality of care.


Anonymous said...

Great blog, keep up the good work.

Anonymous said...

Thanks Paul. I thoroughly enjoyed sharing the podium with you too! I look forward to watching BIDMC reach it's goals over the next several years!

On another note, your blog has inspired us all! MITSS is following your lead with two new blogs of it's own.

Linda Kenney

Anonymous said...

Thank you for acknowledging and including the work of other amazing leaders in patient safety and patient care. The support services offered at MITSS are truly unique. By including this story on your blog, you are making a clear statement that the emotional welfare of your staff and patients are important to the culture and safety practices at BIDMC. Your willingness to "share the stage" by highlighting others on your blog is truly impressive and demonstrates your committment to disseminating any information that may help in the growth of others involved in the healthcare community. Sorry to oooo and ahhh for too long, but this was touching to see. Thank you and keep up the good work.