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Emily's story

Thank you for the opportunity to share my daughter, Emily's, tragic story. This does not get any easier, in fact even though over five years have gone by since her death, my life still seems so surreal. There is no pain greater than losing a child. My beautiful Emily's death was senseless and preventable. However, by establishing Emily's Foundation, I genuinely hope to prevent any other family from having to endure the pain that I live with every day. Read Emily's full story here.


Why We're Passionate About Finding Solutions

This video showcases exactly who we are and why we do what we do. The Emily Jerry Foundation is committed to saving lives by reducing preventable medical errors. We work with many partners to make this vision a reality. President, Christopher Jerry, can come to your facility or patient safety event to make an impact on your team of caregivers.


Contact Chris to book an event today!


2014 NATIONAL PHARMACY TECHNICIAN REGULATION SCORECARDS

Announcing The Emily Jerry Foundation's National Pharmacy Technician Initiative and Scorecard

As with the heartbreaking story of my beautiful little girl Emily in 2006 (see Emily's Story for details) as well as the more recent tragedy and loss of life that occurred as result of unsafe pharmacy practices in Massachusetts at the pharmacy responsible for the meningitis outbreak, the general public is not made aware of the fact that they are routinely put at risk within our nation's medical facilities until it is too late. Similarly, a majority of the public is not aware of the fact that in all of our nation's medical facilities, pharmacy technicians are being used to compound virtually all of their intravenous medications (IV medications) while they receive treatment. To make matters even worse, there are still many states that have absolutely no requirements, or proof of competency, whatsoever, for the pharmacy technicians who routinely compound patient's IV medications on a day-to-day basis. The Emily Jerry Foundation's National Pharmacy Technician Initiative and Scorecard aims to change that. With the launch of the new interactive map that is available on our home page at emilyjerryfoundation.org, we have attempted to increase the flow of information to the general public and to our lawmakers about these reversible conditions and to become a catalyst for change. We hope to highlight the states that are doing a great job of protecting their patients through strict controls and educational requirements for pharmacy techs, as well as encourage those that are lagging behind to make improvements in their own standards in order to improve care and potentially save lives. That is the goal of the Emily Jerry Foundation, and myself as a patient safety advocate. To help save lives through reducing and eliminating the human error component of medicine. We hope this initiative will continue the momentum of our progress in that area. Click here to read the full press release.

Very best regards,
Christopher S. Jerry
President & CEO
The Emily Jerry Foundation

Latest News

The Third Leading Cause of Death in America – PREVENTABLE Medical Errors


Most of the public is completely unaware of this fact and many people in the medical community, who are cognizant, are in complete denial!

On March 1st 2006, five days after my beautiful daughter Emily’s second birthday, my wife and I had to make the worst decision of our entire lives, to take our little girl off of life support. That horrific day will always remain permanently burned into my memory and it haunts me every single day. It was only by the Grace of God and His new little angel Emily that truly saved me from myself in the years that followed this unimaginable tragedy.

It was also on that day, that I knew in my heart that my life had drastically changed forever. I absolutely understood that there was no way to bring my sweet Emily back, however, I also knew that I could find out exactly what happened to her and, subsequently, find ways to ensure that other babies, children, and their families, didn’t suffer a similar fate. I still continue to have, and have always had, the utmost respect for modern day science and medicine. After all, it was modern day medicine and the advances that have been made in research and development of new leading edge treatment methods that had actually cured my Emily of an extremely life threatening, horrible, tumor that, just 10 or 15 years prior would have proven to be fatal for any patient with that particular diagnosis.

Shortly after Emily’s heartbreaking death from a horrible medication error, I immediately began researching preventable medical error, desperately trying to educate myself on why these tragedies occur at such an astonishing number in the United States and globally, each and every year. To me, as well as many others, these annual numbers of deaths that had been reported in historic studies like “To Err is Human” in 1999, by the Institute of Medicine (IOM), were completely unacceptable and did not have to happen in the first place. Again, in my opinion, they are called preventable medical errors for a reason. They really are preventable! When the IOM first introduced this landmark study in 1999, they tried as best as they could to very accurately assess the number of deaths that occur every year in America. The number that they were able to quantify, at that time, was over 100,000 lives each and every year. I was completely shocked to learn that this many people died every year just like Emily did!

In the years following this initial IOM report, through the use of what are called “global trigger tools”, SBAR (Situation, Background, Assessment, and Recommendation) tools, etc., the new numbers of estimated deaths in the United States from preventable medical errors, began to climb substantially and double to over 200,000 lives lost every year in America.

I began to think to myself that either number was horrific and senseless. There were so many questions that I had. I started to wonder why the total number of deaths had doubled? Were there really twice as many people dying from preventable medical error a decade after the IOM’s report, or was the core of the problem in the accuracy of the reporting? If this was the case, was the real number of deaths that occur annually in the United States even larger than the 200,000 that was being used? Then I began to ponder the question, that in 2006, when Emily died, would she have been included in those numbers? If not, her short life wouldn’t have even amounted to an accurate statistic. Was that what everyone was telling me? As her father, my biggest fear was that my little Emily would have been completely forgotten and her short life wouldn’t have even been counted, as if she had never even been born. What about all of the other lives that had been lost so tragically from preventable medical error? All because we as a society and the medical community had no way of accurately counting the real number of lives lost to preventable medical errors. As you can probably already tell, this whole notion has never sat very well with me. As I’m sure you will agree, this is definitely not the way we should be honoring our loved ones, especially after their lives had ended so abruptly and unexpectedly!

A retired NASA scientist by the name of John James, who heartbreakingly lost his 19-year old son to multiple preventable medical errors as a result of cardiologist’s mistakes at two separate medical facilities in Houston, also dedicated the remainder of his life’s work to honoring his son’s life by improving hospital safety and founding an organization called Patient Safety America. Flash-forward to September of 2013, John authored a comprehensive study that had its conclusion published in the Journal of Patient Safety called “A New Evidence-based Estimate of Patient Harms Associated with Hospital Care” (September 2013 – Volume 9 – Issue 3 – p 122–128). This ground breaking study put the new number at 440,000 lives lost in America every year due to preventable medical error, making preventable medical error the third leading cause of death, aside from heart disease and cancer!

Shortly after this important study was released, I began presenting and discussing it’s validity in virtually all of my presentations with some of our nation’s brightest minds in medicine. I was really hoping and praying that the “experts” in the medical community would be able to tell me that it wasn’t really true. I became obsessed with requesting anyone who would take the time, including a few people associated with the IOM, to review this study in an effort to find any possible flaws. To date, absolutely no one has been able to find any. In fact, the feedback I have received has been quite the contrary. A number of respected people in medicine have said, that in their professional opinion, they believe the annual number of deaths in our nation most likely exceeds 440,000!

As utterly shocking as these numbers are, my biggest fear now is the very “human” conditioned response to problems that appear so incredibly overwhelming, hopeless, and unfixable. It’s very common for virtually anyone to go through a stage of complete denial with respect to the real situation and problem at hand. With this thought in mind, I am genuinely hoping and praying that we as a society, as well as, the medical community, patient safety oriented organization, and fellow advocates like myself, can get past this denial stage, as quickly as possible and truly begin fixing the problems associated with “human error”, internal systems, processes, and protocols, in medicine that are leading to hundreds of thousands of lives lost every year in America. With real hope, forgiveness, compassion, and collaboration, I truly believe we can get to zero deaths from preventable medical errors during my lifetime!

Recent media reports on deaths associated with preventable medical errors:


http://www.consumerreports.org/cro/magazine/2014/05/survive-your-hospital-stay/index.htm?fb_action_ids=10204438159658317&fb_action_types=og.likes&fb_source=aggregation&fb_aggregation_id=288381481237582


http://www.forbes.com/sites/leahbinder/2013/09/23/stunning-news-on-preventable-deaths-in-hospitals/


http://www.npr.org/blogs/health/2013/09/20/224507654/how-many-die-from-medical-mistakes-in-u-s-hospitals?utm_campaign=storyshare&utm_source


http://m.healthcareitnews.com/news/deaths-by-medical-mistakes-hit-records

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Announcing The Emily Jerry Foundation’s “Patient Safety Express” Educational Program

On the Road to Saving 440,000 Lives a Year!

Click on the image above to view a larger version.

On March 1st of 2006, Emily’s mother and I had to make the most difficult decision of our lives, which was to take our precious 2-year old girl, Emily, off of life support after a preventable medical error.   In horrible, unimaginable situations like this, we all respond differently. However, as any father would be, I was completely and totally devastated emotionally. Even with that thought in mind, I still never questioned the existence of God. From that horrific day forward, I knew in my heart that He had to have a plan, I just had absolutely no idea, nor was I ever meant to even comprehend at that point, what exactly God’s plan was for my beautiful little girl’s short life here on earth.   

As I frequently mention in many of my speaking engagements and lectures, as Emily’s father looking back over the past eight years, I have really come to believe that Emily’s short life was truly meant to save thousands from the same fate.  In retrospect, I am also convinced that Emily’s life was actually meant to be the catalyst for all the positive change in attitudes and opinions on preventable medical errors and how the medical community responds and learns from them. This is precisely why I have always strived with my advocacy efforts, as well as, the programming of The Emily Jerry Foundation to be an active part of the overall “solution” to preventable medical errors, which by recent estimates are claiming more than 440,000 lives every year and are now sadly the third leading cause of death in the United States.

I am extremely pleased to say that the special Guardian Angel logo for the foundation, designed with Emily’s likeness, is very quickly becoming the “Gerber Baby” of patient safety. Most everyone in medicine and pharmacy recognizes it. More importantly to me, they really seem to comprehend the fact that it stands for all of this positive change that is, in fact, occurring in the underlying “culture of medicine” and how it’s being practiced, both here in the United States and abroad.  In these ways, Emily lives on, and is truly responsible for saving many lives. My goal is to keep the momentum going forward and continue to inspire those in the medical field to never settle for “good enough” when it comes to patient safety.

When I first established The Emily Jerry Foundation, under these distinct premises, my primary motivation was to begin getting out and speaking to as many caregivers around the nation as possible. I wanted to share with them Emily’s story and the extremely important lessons that have been learned since her passing. My feeling was that the caregivers, hospital administrators, boards of trustees for medical facilities, etc., were the ones who could really impact the changes I was praying for, more quickly than anyone else. 

Over the past three years, I have been blessed with the opportunity to speak before tens of thousands of people, all who play an integral part in patient safety in our healthcare system. I have already given more than 75 lectures, keynotes speeches, and presentations on patient safety and ways to reduce preventable medical errors at hospitals and medical conferences around the nation. It is extremely important to keep this wave of enthusiasm for our very important cause moving forward. This is precisely why I believe so strongly that The Emily Jerry Foundation needs to continue to reach and convey our vital messages to as many caregivers and healthcare administrators across the nation, as quickly and effectively, as possible.  

According to the American Hospital Association (AHA), we currently have 5, 723 registered hospitals in the United States today. I know it’s a completely unrealistic goal to expect to be able to book the speaking engagements and patient safety symposiums, which have proven very effective over the past few years, at each and every single medical facility in our nation. This is exactly why we have developed The Emily Jerry Foundation’s new “Patient Safety Express” Educational Program, to effectively and efficiently reach, as many of these hospitals, as possible.

My plan is simple. If we can raise enough funds and donations to either purchase or lease a coach tour bus, similar to the one pictured above this article, I am going to make a personal commitment to our cause to live on the road for 12 to 18 months at a time, going to as many hospitals and patient safety functions around the country as humanly possible. Typically, I am only able to conduct roughly two to four speaking engagements and patient safety events per month via commercial airlines. With the “Patient Safety Express”, I will be able to more efficiently cover the entire United States visiting three to five hospitals per week. My very realistic goal then, subsequently, becomes approximately 156 to 260 hospitals and functions per year!

Please join me in this fight by donating toward this very important educational program and our vital “life saving” cause at emilyjerryfoundation.org/donate. If you would like to discuss corporate sponsorship for this program, please contact me directly at chris@emilyjerryfoundation.org.

Thank You in Advance for your Support!
~Chris Jerry, Patient Safety Advocate

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Cleveland.com: Honoring his daughter, Chris Jerry continues fight against medical errors; will speak July 8 at Lake Erie College

A great new article about the foundation and Emily’s story has been recently released on Cleveland.com and ran today, July 6, in the Sunday edition of the Cleveland Plain Dealer on Page 2! We hope this gets excellent exposure for the foundation as well as for the speaking engagement scheduled for this week at Lake Erie College on July 8th. Please spread the news, the more in attendance the better. To read the entire article click here.

A scan of the actual printed edition is also attached below. Click on the image to view a larger version…

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  • Nate & Katherine

    A Letter to My Children

    Dear Nate & Katherine,

    I truly love and miss, both of you, more than you will ever know! I am so incredibly sorry that you both have had to endure the loss of your baby sister, the death of your uncle, and the breakup of your family in such a short period of time. You both were the absolute best big brother and sister ever and I know how much you both must still hurt and miss her! I genuinely hope and pray that you find some comfort and that you both always know in your heart that little Emily is still watching over all of us!

    Click Here to Read the Full Letter...

  • Our mission

    The Emily Jerry Foundation is determined to help make our nation’s, world renowned, medical facilities safer for everyone, beginning with our babies and children. We are accomplishing this very important objective by focusing on increasing public awareness of key patient safety related issues and identifying technology and best practices that are proven to minimize the “human error” component of medicine. Through our ongoing efforts The Emily Jerry Foundation is working hard to save lives every day.


    Thank You So Very Much for Your Support! ~Chris Jerry

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    Contact us

    We'd love to hear your stories and comments. Together we can save lives.

    chris@emilyjerryfoundation.org


    Advocacy Heals U


    Internet Radio Show Co-hosted by Joni Aldrich and Chris Jerry of the Emily Jerry Foundation

    Through my work as an advocate, I never really knew the profound healing that would occur on a personal level, as Emily’s father. It’s this type of healing process that can occur, for anyone who has experienced or is going through a life-changing crisis, that cohost Joni Aldrich (www.jonialdrich.com) and I, discuss on our weekly show called ADVOCACY HEALS U. Please join us every Tuesday at 2:00pm EST and find out how to be an advocate for positive change and how it can, subsequently, heal and inspire you too! Over any web enabled device, you can listen to the show by either going to www.W4CS.com or www.W4WN.com. If you happen to miss a show it will be rebroadcast each Saturday at 3:00pm EST. All our shows are archived on iHeartRadio.com. Click on the button below to scroll through the archives.

  • Form Letters

    Medication Safety Form Letters

    A few months ago, we introduced The Emily Jerry Foundation’s National Pharmacy Technician Initiative and Scorecard. Our new interactive scorecard’s primary objective is meant to be a useful tool for everyone in the public to use to protect themselves, their families, and their loved ones, from tragic and often deadly medication errors, like the one that took my beautiful daughter, Emily’s, life in 2006. As with Emily, these types of tragedies often occur in states that have little to NO oversight or continuing education requirements for their pharmacy technicians. If you live in one of these states that has absolutely no requirements for their pharmacy technicians, has received a poor grade on our scorecard, or if you are simply not comfortable with the potential core competency or training requirements of the pharmacy technicians in your state, I would urge you to complete and print out the following two letters and get them signed. These letters could ultimately save your life, or the lives of the ones you love.

    One of the letters was written for those of you who will be receiving treatment at a hospital or medical facility that will be dispensing and compounding medications for you in their clinical pharmacy. The other letter is for those of you that will be receiving your medications from a retail pharmacy close to home. Many of you will need to utilize both letters, due to the fact you will be receiving various medications from both types of pharmacies (clinical and retail) during the course of your treatment.

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