Emily’s Legacy Continues to Live On…Ray Sipherd from CNBC Hits it Out of the Park!!
A few weeks ago I did an interview with Ray Sipherd from CNBC where we discussed my daughter Emily’s tragic story and the subsequent work that is being done by the Emily Jerry Foundation to save lives and stop these types of tragedies before they happen.
We also talked in depth about how preventable medical error is an issue that affects each and every one us, due to the fact that we all receive healthcare. During our conversation, I had also explained to Ray that I did not understand why most people in the general public are not even aware that preventable medical error is the third leading cause of death in the United States, even though it had been first identified by Dr. John James’ sentinel study in the Journal of Patient Safety in 2013.
That said, I would like to genuinely thank Ray from the bottom of my heart, for writing such a great article and helping to get the word out about this vital issue!
Felt very grateful to have the opportunity to speak at the Technical Education Center Osceola (TECO) today to a number of great Pharmacy Technician and Medical Assistant students about preventable medical error. After a very successful and productive week at the American Society of Health System Pharmacists (ASHP) Annual Midyear Clinical Meeting, I’m really looking forward to getting back home to Chagrin Falls and sleeping in my own bed!
The ASHP (American Society of Health System Pharmacists) Annual Midyear Clinical Meeting has been absolutely incredible this year! It’s the largest gathering of pharmacy professionals in world with more than 25,000 in attendance. Every year I am surrounded by so many of the pharmacy experts, many of which who have helped mentor me over the past decade, who are just as passionate about medication safety and saving lives from preventable medication errors as I am! Today I was honored to deliver a speech titled “Raising the Bar for IV Compounding Technology!”
I felt very privileged to be asked to give the keynote address and to participate in this very important Roundtable on Patient Safety in Washington D.C. last week! The meeting was organized to bring together key stakeholders, leading pharmacy experts, representatives from the FDA, Joint Commission, AHA, etc., to review and discuss the last five years in hospital medication safety and clinical practices. The primary objective at the end of the day, which I felt was definitely accomplished, was to have found where further improvement can be made in hospital compounding, discuss possible refinements in best practices, and to reach a consensus on the leading practice recommendations. By all of us rallying together to advance patient safety overall in a very well organized forum like this, I really believe that, together, we will ultimately save countless lives from preventable medication errors!
The following is the press release that went out last week over the PRnewswire:
By Christopher Jerry | President & CEO at The Emily Jerry Foundation
“We must accept human error as inevitable – and design around that fact.” ~Donald Berwick
Ever since my daughter Emily Jerry’s tragic death 11 years ago from a preventable medication error, I began an unintentional quest, that I believe was chosen for me, to work diligently to affect positive change in medicine. Over the years, I have had the opportunity to work with some of the brightest minds in healthcare and have always strived to help transform the culture of medicine, how it’s practiced in the U.S., and more importantly how we respond and learn from these preventable medical errors which have now been identified as the third leading cause of death in the United States.
I founded the Emily Jerry Foundation, in honor of my daughter’s short life here on earth, to focus on the modification of underlying systems, processes, and protocols in medicine, and to find comprehensive solutions that would minimize the probability of this inherent “human error component of medicine.”
Naturally, many people have often asked me, what is the primary cause of preventable medical error that makes it the third leading cause of death in the United States with such an astounding loss of life every year? The answer is really quite simple…it’s this inherent “human error” component of medicine. The fact that every single well intended clinician, no matter how vigilant, compassionate, or empathetic they may be towards the patients they care for on a day to day basis, is capable of making a “human error”. This is precisely why the focus of my work over the past decade, since the tragic loss of my daughter Emily in 2006, has been on saving lives through the modification of internal systems, processes, and protocols in medicine. This is also why I have been such an outspoken proponent for the smart implementation and adoption of clinically proven technology, as the tools, to significantly reduce, if not completely eliminate, the probability of “human error” from creeping into the equation during the course of treatment, for ALL patients. As Steve Jobs so eloquently put it, “Technology does not have human flaws”.
Last week's speaking engagement at Bozeman Health's 5th Annual Safety Summit was an absolutely incredible experience! I gave nine lectures in two days, to well over 900 of their clinical staff, upper level administrators, safety coaches, etc.. Additionally, I also had the great privilege of an in depth tour of Bozeman's pharmacy departments to see, first hand, their pharmacy workflow and how the pharmacists and pharmacy technicians always put medication safety first! I want to genuinely thank everyone at Bozeman Health from the bottom of my heart, for successfully implementing a true culture of safety, amongst ALL the amazing staff, at their healthcare facilities in Montana!
Really looking forward to heading to Washington D.C. again, the week after next, representing the Emily Jerry Foundation. I feel very humbled and privileged to have been invited to participate in the Roundtable on Patient Safety and Hospital Compounding on October 11th. We will all be working together to find comprehensive ways to save lives from preventable medication errors and put a stop to tragedies, like what happened, not only with my daughter Emily, but also with so many others, before they actually happen.
The Roundtable on Patient Safety and Hospital Compounding aims to bring together key stakeholders to review the last five years in hospital medication safety advances and clinical practices; consider where further refinements can benefit patients and providers; and to develop consensus recommendations that advance the next critical phase of best practices and research recommendations. If you would like to learn more about the Patient Safety Roundtable and what we are planning to accomplish during this very important meeting, please visit their website at: http://patientsafetyroundtable.org/background/
For about the past five years or so, I have been working with a great organization called Pharmcon, occasionally doing educational webinars, as I did yesterday afternoon, for pharmacists, pharmacy technicians, nurses, etc., about Emily’s Legacy and the vital lessons learned from the horrible tragedy that occurred in 2006.
After yesterday’s webinar, I received this very kind and heartfelt letter from the newest member of the Pharmcon team. Correspondence like this, truly inspires me to continue down this path that I believe was “chosen for me” and makes me feel as though the Emily Jerry Foundation is really affecting positive change, making a difference, and quite possibly saving some lives from preventable medical error. With that said, I find it quite ironic that this gentleman’s last name is “HOPE” because that is exactly the true blessing he has given me!
Chris, I just wanted to take a moment to say, from the bottom of my heart, how much I appreciate your joining us today on our PharmCon webinar and sharing some of the more recent highlights from the Emily Jerry Foundation. I, too, believe that multiple miracles occurred on that day amidst incomprehensible tragedy and heartbreak. One of those miracles was you. As the newest team member at PharmCon, I was ecstatic to learn that we had a solid working relationship with you to communicate such a vital message on so many fronts.
Having served as the director for an ASHP accredited training program, I knew of Emily’s legacy, but it was only recently that I made the connection between Emily’s legacy and the positive changes that I see from state to state, especially within the arena of pharmacy technology education. I am a member of PTEC (Pharmacy Technician’s Educator’s Council) and have followed the dialogue surrounding pharmacy technician education requirements over the past several years. I am still appalled that, even within our profession, we find objections to ‘common sense’ at times.
It was an absolute honor to speak with you today! Consider this to be my own offer to be an “advocate for the advocate,” whether it be through my role with Kevin and our team at PharmCon or on a personal level. Thank you!
KEVIN HOPE, RPH, BCNP Clinical Pharmacy Education Specialist
Yesterday was such an amazing day at Allegheny Health Network's Medication Safety Summit in Pittsburgh. I truly felt so privileged and humbled to give the keynote to help kick things off. I was also so grateful to spend the remainder of the day surrounded by so many "like minded" AHN clinician caregivers who are just as passionate as I am, to put an end preventable medication errors! Throughout the day we all participated in various educational activities relating to improving medication safety overall, root cause analysis, etc. From all of this wonderful collaboration and input from the various modalities at AHN, I felt like we all learned so much. Bottom line, I walked away from this stellar medication safety summit with such a re-energized sense of HOPE and inspiration, that by all of us continuing to rally together, we can one day soon, achieve my somewhat audacious goal of ZERO preventable medication errors! With that said, I would genuinely like to thank AHN's Vice President of Pharmacy, Laura Mark, and her colleagues for not only making this very productive event happen but for truly "hitting it out of the park"!
Most people truly understand why I am so passionate about my ongoing advocacy efforts in patient safety and why it has been so important to me. They also seem to get why, over the years, I have felt so strongly about always striving to be an active part of the solution to preventable medical errors, not only through my work, but through the programming of The Emily Jerry Foundation. What some people often ask me though, who do not practice medicine, is exactly “why” I refer to myself not just as a patient safety advocate, but as a clinician/caregiver advocate, as well? The following, very kind and supportive email correspondence that I just received from a pharmacist this morning helps explain the answer to that question.
“I just wanted to say I’m so sorry for what happened with your daughter. I also think you are an inspiration for how you took the situation and have done such good things with it. I am a pharmacist and I see all too often companies not getting to the root of the problem. They only try to fix the face of the problem, not the cause. You are doing something so wonderful by trying to fix the broken system after the trauma you suffered—I have no words to express how wonderful that is. I also don’t have words to express my condolences and sorrow for your daughter–words can’t suffice for that type of pain, I’m so sorry. Best Wishes, Jan”
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.