Stories of Harm from Consumer Health Quality Council members

Health Care for All started a Consumer Health Quality Council about a year ago for people who’ve encountered medical quality problems. Now three members of that group have told their stories in video clips on YouTube, with a little help from some students from the BU School of Public Health. The videos will be premiered tomorrow at 10 am in the Massachusetts State House in Room A-2, where they are likely to add urgency to the quality and patient safety agenda.

You can see the videos at A Healthy Blog. Here are the descriptions:

Lisa’s Story: Lisa survived a terrible misdiagnosis and as an empowered health care consumer later saved her daughter from the same misdiagnosis.

Linda’s Story: Linda lost her mother to preventable medical errors.

Ginny’s Story: Ginny’s life was changed forever by a preventable hospital-acquired infection.

I’m at a hotel in DC with a terrible Internet connection and haven’t been able to watch the full videos. What I’ve seen is well done, though and I’m looking forward to viewing the rest.

January 9, 2008

One thought on “Stories of Harm from Consumer Health Quality Council members”

  1. Mis-diagnosis is a tragedy, and unfortunately it is often a tragedy from which people move on once they have a proper diagnosis. While it is good for people to be able to move on, this leaves the process of diagnosis broken. For this reason it is important to dwell on such errors so as to do better. Such videos are helpful in doing so.

    The suggestion about rethinking the diagnosis is one also made in Jerome Groopman’s book “how doctors think”, which is largely about misdiagnosis. I elaborated on this theme in an article in the December issue of Acta Paediatrica (, illustrating how using diagnostic software can help enforce the discipline of rethinking a diagnosis.

    Another helpful discipline is that of the articles listing a “differential diagnosis” for a disease – in essence saying “be sure you are not missing the following diseases”. High quality articles such as those at typically include such information, though not all wisdom gets collected properly even in the best of articles and we need more of a Wikipedia approach, as we are doing in diagnostic software, as discussed in my Acta Paediatrica article.

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