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Medical error can have devastating effects. Here, in their own words, Connecticut families tell the stories of how medical error changed their lives forever.

Katty Chavarria

Katherine, we call her Katty, was born on January 1, 1999. She was our first child and my husband rushed me to the emergency room when I went into labor.

I had been diagnosed with a separation of the placenta, bleeding and indications of fetal distress when I was eight months pregnant. But the obstetrical staff gave me a labor-inducing drug, pitocin, and delayed performing a cesarean section. My baby suffered severe oxygen deprivation with resulting brain damage and cerebral palsy.

Katty was in intensive care for two months and has already had two surgeries. She has serious reflux problem and has to be suctioned frequently. She'll never be able to eat-she has what they call a G tube for eating. I can't just leave her because I never know what she might need and I am the one who knows how to do it.

She is a bright little girl trapped in a body that won't work for her. She gets very frustrated and cries and carries on. But she is smart. We can see her mind working and she has had enough body control to begin to learn how to sign. She can "sign" daddy, hungry, apple, goodbye

I was told she would probably just lie on the floor for most of her life. But that's not true. She is smart and she follows a lot of what is going on around her. She is amazing. She will never be able to cross a street, write her name or live a normal life. But she is amazing.

Katty faces a lifetime of extraordinary challenges because of her reduced capabilities. Restricting a jury from compensating Katty for the way her life was changed is wrong. It seems that the way to reduce the cost of malpractice is to stop tragic injuries like hers from happening in the first place.


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Becoming a More Empowered Patient

First, we have chosen to share a video by Consumer Health Choices: Talking With Your Doctor. In it you will see how preparing for you appointment can make a difference.

We have chosen a second video by the National Patient Safety Foundation: AskMe3, to share with you. Here, you learn that there are three important questions to ask your doctor whenever you see him or her.

Finally, we are sharing a series of videos by Dartmouth-Hitchcock:
Self-Advocacy: The Empowered Patient,
Self-Advocacy: Preparing for your Visit,
Self-Advocacy: Why It's Important To Share and
Self-Advocacy: Doing Research.

For the complete story, please click here

5 Things to Know

  1. What you need to know in the Hospital
  2. 15 Steps You Can Take To Reduce Your Risk of a Hospital Infection
  3. Selecting Doctors & Hospitals
  4. What to do to avoid medication error
  5. AHRQ Director Helps Consumers Navigate the Health Care System in a New Advice Column on the Web

You've Suffered Medical Harm - Now What Do You Do?

According to a recent article published by ProPublica titled: So You’ve Become a Patient Safety Statistic – Now What? by Marshall Allen there are six things to do….

  1. Get a copy of medical records.
  2. Make sure the incident is reported internally.
  3. If the patient has died, order a forensic autopsy.
  4. Consider calling an attorney.
  5. Meet with the doctor and hospital officials.
  6. Report the incident to regulators, who can investigate.

For greater detail and more important information, please read the full article.