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Letter to the Editor

Consumers Union invited to Washington DC to Lobby for the Infection Bill

web posted March 9, 2009
Dear Editor,
As part of the Consumers Union Patient Safety Summit group that has been working together for several years now; we all gathered together last Wednesday, and immediately began gathering information to take to each of our own congressmen and senate representatives from South Carolina. As we all began visiting our respective state offices in the Capital buildings; I was amazed at the level of activity around “the Hill”. It was a sight to see as everyone was scurrying here and there, taking care of business as if it were a regular day at work; especially with all the health care administrators, Insurance representatives and medical personnel among the crowd.

One of my own Congressional Representatives; Gresham Barrett spent quite awhile with us, I got a big surprise as he himself came out of his office and asked that we all join him inside. He will get my vote the next time he runs for re-election, you can be sure. He was so gracious, and listened closely as I told him of Willie’s story, and of the medical mishaps and preventable horrors he suffered through, once he became a victim of Medical Harm. He was surprised at some of our travels through the broken medical care system, and the problems we incurred. I don’t think any of our Federal Legislators had any idea that our own state was among the worst in the nation as far as Delivery of Safe Medical Care, as well as the Medical Boards pitiful record of accountability, until we all finished our stories, complete with statistics.

I for one am fed up with the LACK of decent care both in medical offices as well as at the bedside in most “facilities.” I have much to say as I myself have been a Patient Safety Advocate since the day my husband was operated on at Aiken’s Hospital in January of 2002. His care or lack there of – is a DIRECT reason that I am, and will always be a Patient Safety Advocate. I took my husband (@ 350 pounds, wheel chair and all) as we were part of a group that testified before the SC Senate and house in April of 2006; when Senator Ralph Anderson was sponsoring Bill S-1318; which became the Hospital Infection Disclosure Act on Mary 25th of 06 without one negative vote. Our testimony was a huge motivation for our legislators to “Do the right thing.” Since that time, both Helen Haskell and I have served on the advisory committee for DHEC for the HIDA law and continue to do so to this day.

Helen lost a 15 yr old son at the Medical campus in Charleston due to misdiagnosis and failure to rescue; her tribute to Lewis is the Lewis Blackmon Act which dictates the use of identifying name badges – part of that law is also YOUR ability to have a surgeon or physician called (by a family member or patient) the patient or family member is fearful of immanent harm or death when they feel it necessary to reach either the physician or get help in a hurry. To tell you the truth that happens quite often in most medical facilities. Both Helen and I travel speaking to everything and everyone from grass roots organizations, to hospital safety teams and everything in between. Jan Vick of SC Voices for Patient Safety lost her twin sister, Anne Perdue to a similar circumstance. Bonnie Getz of Spartanburg is disabled because of a staph infection which took her ability to walk without the support of braces.

Connie Price was injured in Myrtle Beach which disfigured her; Nancy Garvin lost a 23 year old son because he had been given a dangerously under-rated pain killer after an accident – the young man took the meds as prescribed, he died within a few days of taking the meds. The Toolen family who came to attend out First Annual Patient Safety Day on July 4th in 2008 – their teenage son wanted to have a knee fixed to play football – instead for several years now – he has had multiple surgeries, because of the hospital acquired staff; and will never be able to play football again, as his parents have taken care of him – his father who is diabetic, contracted staph as well – it is amazing that in America, we have so many patients who go bankrupt from medical expenses; from PREVENTABLE MEDICAL ERROR AND INFECTIONS. One HUNDRED THOUSAND DIE annually from Hospital Acquired Staph – alone.

My own husband Willie Parker; died after suffering more than 5 ½ years from multiple medical mistakes and hospital acquired MRSA – both of which I have since learned are PREVENTABLE; patients like Willie, don’t always die immediately from medical harm; and in all my travels I’ve not found one injured/infected patient that expected to go to an office or facility expecting to be injured in any way. There has to be some way to rid our medical community of the epidemic of mistakes and infections – it’s called TEAMWORK; COMMUNICATION; CARING; RESPECTING PATIENTS AND FAMILY’S OR CAREGIVERS, God made us ALL if I remember – there isn’t one human on this earth better than another – we all have to put our pants on the same way – and frankly I’d like to see some effort from both the members of the medical community; insurance companies, our legislators and everyone concerned; so that NO ONE EVER has to suffer the horrors Willie Parker; Ann Perdue; Lewis Blackmon; Bonnie Getz; Jim Jr., Jim Sr., Toolen, and so many more that have been forced to suffer.

Dianne Parker
Aiken SC

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