From Joe Kiani, Founder, Chairman and CEO Masimo Corporation
In 1999, Institute of Medicine reported that over 98,000 people were dying of preventable patient deaths. Today, that number has more than doubled to over 200,000 preventable deaths in hospitals, more than 3,800 every week. That is equivalent to two jumbo jet passenger airplanes crashing and killing all passengers, on a daily basis. Maybe we just understand the problem better and now know that it is even bigger than we first thought, but we certainly have not improved.
The Leah Coufal tragedy is just one example of 200,000+ preventable deaths. When you hear the number, it sounds big. But, when you hear Lenore’s story, you see how utterly big and shameful even one is, let alone over 200,000!
We’re dreaming of zero preventable deaths. We are imagining a world where no patient dies from a cause that is preventable. We are hoping that together, we can come together and make a commitment to not give up until we are at zero, zero preventable deaths!
No one group, let alone a single person, has the power to eliminate all of these preventable deaths. There are many problems that are causing these preventable deaths and therefore no single way or policy can eradicate them.
Yet, you wake up one day and realize that it’s time to be counted, it’s time for you to lead. You realize you play a key role in the healthcare community and you have a moral responsibility to do something about all of these preventable deaths.
This moral imperative is even more urgent when you realize that the solutions to many, if not all, of these problems are available today and don’t require any more inventions, development, and regulatory approvals.
They just require us to act. They require us to make a stand. To not let one more day go by where we allow mediocrity, disconnections, lack of conviction, apathy, and the “us and the” mentality get in the way of what is best for patients.
All of these preventable deaths demand us to get connected, connect technologies, connect people and connect ideas. We need to cooperate and most importantly we need to make a commitment to lead, to lead us out of these preventable deaths.
Ten years ago, Lenore Alexander’s healthy, 11-year-old daughter, Leah Coufal, underwent elective surgery to correct pectus carinatum at a prestigious Southern California hospital. Though the surgery went well, Lenore awoke at 2 a.m. on the second post-operative night to find Leah “dead in bed,” a victim of undetected respiratory arrest, caused by the narcotics that were intended to ease her pain. If Leah had been monitored continuously after the surgery, hospital staff and Lenore would have been alerted and Leah would probably have been rescued. But ten years later, knowing that the standard of care remains unchanged, Lenore works to make continuous postoperative monitoring the law (Leah’s Law) to help prevent other children suffering the same fate as Leah.
Unfortunately, Leah’s story is not unique, the Patient Safety, Science & Technology Summit was created to confront large problems with actionable ideas and innovations that can transform the process of care and dramatically improve patient safety and help eliminate patient preventable deaths, one recipe, one hospital and one patient at a time so parents don’t have to go home without their daughters.
The summit, and what has quickly become a movement, has done things different – there are no passive listeners – there are only active participants. The movement is about connecting people, connecting ideas, and connecting technologies so that the patient emerges. Medical technology companies, clinicians and hospitals are encouraged to make public pledges to take decisive action to improve patient safety and be held accountable to follow through on their commitment.
Medical technology companies have been asked to make a pledge and be held accountable to make their device data available to anyone or any entity that wants to use it to improve patient care – subject to all applicable privacy laws.
Hospitals have pledged to implement a particular recipe, or develop their own, and commit to help eliminate preventable deaths in their facility – many have committed to doing so.
When you or one of your loved ones has to go to the hospital, ask them if they have joined in the challenge and made a pledge to get to ZERO – actions always speak louder than words. Ask them what challenge they are addressing? Ask them if they have signed up their commitment with the The Patient Safety Movement, so that the movement can track their progress.
Join the challenge and help make ZERO preventable patient deaths a reality by 2020 – visit ThePatientSafetyMovement.org or PatientSafetySummit.org and listen to Leah’s story and share your thoughts and stories with us.