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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.

Steve Govoni

My wife Kate died suddenly at age 41 after a routine allergy shot in a doctor's office. Our then four-year-old son was sitting next to her when she started coughing, then screamed and collapsed from anaphylactic shock. Our two-year-old daughter was downstairs with her nanny.

No one in the 14-doctor medical practice could revive Kate, in part because there was no intravenous epinephrine available. It took three calls to get 911 to get an ambulance, and it was only when paramedics arrived that an emergency tracheotomy was performed. By then, though, it was too late.

A couple of hours later, the allergist walked me to my car and was so remorseful that he offered to check with his malpractice insurer to see what they could do for me and the kids.If that wasn't a tacit admission of liability and responsibility I don't know what is. But nothing ever became of that gesture. The result was four and a half years of litigation that was only resolved after an expert witness identified a number of preventable medical errors, which in his opinion included an overdose.

What compounded the absurdity of this case was the fact that two poorly trained investigators for the CT Department of Public Health did little to probe the root cause of this tragedy and eventually whitewashed the matter.

As for the allergist, his state record shows just a sketchy reference to a settlement on his behalf, but nothing about the botched injection that robbed two children of their birth mom.


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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.