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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.

Timothy Kertanis

My son Tim was born on March 29, 1995. I was not due until April 23.

In my last month of pregnancy, my obstetrician decided, on her own, to perform an amniocentesis. Contrary to her own office policy, she did not discuss her desire to do this with any of the other doctors in her group. And she decided to do this potentially dangerous procedure in her office, miles away from the hospital, with no surgical, anesthesia, or emergency equipment.

During the amniocentesis, the needle struck a blood vessel causing my baby to go into fetal distress. I was rushed to a hospital and an emergency cesarean section was done.

Timothy was in critical condition for several weeks and we were unsure whether he would live. Thankfully, he came through but he has suffered serious and permanent kidney damage from a lack of oxygen. We have been told he will need a kidney transplant, probably in his early adult life.

This catastrophe was completely preventable. It is an example of what happens when bad decisions are made in the course of obstetrical care.

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.

The justice system worked for Timothy and my family. Timothy's only chance to be protected in the future was because he was able to recover a fair amount of damages as decided by a jury. I want the system to be there for other children and families.


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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.