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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.

Marilyn Jasmin

My husband died of a massive coronary when he was just 41 years old. Our youngest had turned two and I had no idea how I would raise our five children. But I was fortunate and found another wonderful man - we have been married now for thirty years and he helped raise the children. They are smart and good people. We have a close warm family - nineteen grandchildren and they all live in CT.

But what happened to me in May 2002 has changed everything. I am an insulin dependent diabetic and I needed back surgery. The surgeon did an excellent job and everything was fine but he had to go out of town just after the operation. Three days later I was shipped to a nursing home for recovery, a little bit earlier than planned because the hospital was very crowded.

Six days after the operation I woke up screaming in pain and was ambulanced back to the hospital. When the surgeon saw me, I was immediately taken into surgery and filleted like a fish.

He scraped and scraped to get the infection out. He says he gave orders to give me antibiotics but the nursing home says that they never got those orders.

Thirty years of savings are now gone and my poor, dear husband, at 74 has gone back to work. Our lives have been turned upside down and I am in pain all of the time. Since that day I was returned to the hospital, I have never walked unaided. And now, because of the massive dosages of antibiotics I had to take, I have other medical complications. Now I take predizone and percoset for the pain. I fall and need a wheelchair.

I can't turn off the pain. I can't turn off the money problems.

I wish I could give you more details of exactly what happened, but I was forced to sign a confidentiality agreement when the case was settled.

I wish you could have seen me when I was younger. I am so ashamed of how I look now. The steroids have added 60 pounds and it makes it even harder to get around. I wish you could have seen my house when I could clean. I wish you could have seen the garden. I want my life back.


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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.