Happy Birthday my sweet Emily! The memories are so vivid, it almost seems like you were here with us just yesterday, and yet it’s hard to imagine that you left this world, to go and be with the Lord, in heaven, almost 15 years ago. As your daddy I’m thinking, here we are today, my baby girl would have actually been 17 years old. I truly look forward to that day when we are reunited in heaven, and I get to see you again!
I know I have said this before, but it’s so true, your legacy continues to live on, every single day, in the hearts and minds of so many people in healthcare and around the globe, who ALL know you by name! I’m so extremely proud to be your dad! Your short life here on earth has sparked such a tremendous amount of positive change, not only in patient and medication safety, but also in how the world views, and responds, to preventable medical error when it occurs. Tragedies are being prevented and lives are being saved because of your legacy!!
In September of 2019, I spent some time in the state capital of Pennsylvania, Harrisburg, on behalf of the Emily Jerry Foundation. I was working with the Pennsylvania Society of Health System Pharmacists (PSHP) team of pharmacy experts, helping them to educate their state legislators on how vitally important it was, that the proposed House Bill 770, relating to pharmacy technicians in their state, get passed.
That’s why this past Monday, I was absolutely elated to hear the outstanding news that their Governor, Tom Wolf, had actually signed into law this essential piece of legislation! It provides requirements for pharmacy technician registration and covers various aspects of training and oversight by Pennsylvania’s state board of pharmacy.
Pharmacy technicians play such a crucial role in overall medication safety, and legislation like this will definitely help to elevate the practice throughout the state. I am very pleased to be able to say, that’s exactly what happened when Emily’s Law (Senate Bill 203) was passed, here in Ohio, in 2009!
I am so grateful to have opportunities like these! Yesterday’s virtual speaking engagement with the University of South Carolina’s College of Pharmacy went extremely well! We had over 200 students & faculty in attendance, including some who were from USC’s Medical School.
I have always felt blessed to have the ability, through the Emily Jerry Foundation, to get out and speak to the students before they actually begin their careers in healthcare about such vital issues as patient & medication safety. By having a positive impact on these “future leaders,” with my daughter Emily’s Legacy, and always remembering the valuable lessons that have been learned since her tragic death in 2006, I truly believe that countless lives will be saved going forward!
It was truly an honor and a privilege to be able to give the virtual Keynote for the “Revolutionizing Patient Safety: Securing the Medication Supply Line Conference”, hosted by the Axia Institute/MSU, yesterday.
A primary topic of conversation that was covered very well, throughout the day, in the panel discussions, was one that I am very familiar with, and speak often about, the utilization of technology as the “tools” to help eliminate “human error” from both the clinical and pharmacy workflow.
This event was a huge success in terms of conveying this fact, it was also extremely well organized, and highlighted exactly how technology, if adopted and implemented properly, can significantly improve medication safety overall. I really believe that this is how we can stop tragedies, like the one that occurred with my daughter Emily, and save countless lives from preventable medication errors together!
The following are a few of the very kind comments I feel very blessed to have received afterwards…
“Your touching story of loss, along with your equally powerful story of preserving your daughter’s legacy through the Emily Jerry Foundation was riveting.” ~Katherine F.
“You gave a truly amazing presentation…What a lesson you and Emily are teaching so many, God bless you!” ~Karol M.
“You did a fantastic job, as always! We appreciate all you do to continue advocating for patient safety while continually making Emily proud!” ~Miranda T.
“Thank you! We will all strive to be better because of Emily!” ~Jay W.
I’m really looking forward to this event, the week after next!! As I have mentioned many times before, I have always felt that it’s of vital importance, to try and help in any way we possibly can, to make patient & medication safety the number one priority for ALL of our future leaders in healthcare! In the past, my good friend George Smith, and I, had always talked about the possibility of me visiting the University of South Carolina’s School of Pharmacy, on behalf of EJF, and speaking to the students at some point. Both he and his wife are alumni at the USC COP, and now their daughter Bailey, is currently working on her Doctor of Pharmacy degree. Then, a few months ago, I received an email from George saying, that USC had really gotten behind his daughter, Bailey’s, idea of having me speak virtually (due to COVID) to their College of Pharmacy. In addition, he also went on to mention that even the Dean and his administrative staff were also very engaged and excited about the opportunity as well!
The good news is that countless lives can be saved, and so many senseless tragedies averted, if we are just willing to acknowledge the REAL cause of preventable medical error!!
Repost from 9/20/2017… Many people will often ask me, what is the primary cause of preventable medical error that actually makes it the third leading cause of death in the United States? The answer is quite simple…it’s the inherent “human error” component of medicine. The fact that every single clinician, no matter how well intended, compassionate, or empathetic, they may be, 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 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”!
Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, like everyone else, I have been unable to travel this year. As a result, unfortunately, all of my lectures and presentations, that I had scheduled for the Emily Jerry Foundation this year, at hospitals and other events, had to be canceled or rescheduled.
That said, yesterday, I had the great privilege of being able to give my very first “virtual” keynote address to the Florida Pharmacy Association, for their 130th Annual Meeting and Convention (originally scheduled for Marco Island, FLA ?). What an amazing group of people who have clearly made the commitment to always make patient and medication safety their number one priority over anything else!!
The following are a few of the very kind comments that were made during the presentation;
“We use a system called Dose Edge in our hospital. The techs use barcode scanning and have to take pictures of the items they use. I as the pharmacist, can see the pictures on my computer outside the IV room.” ~Roderick R.
“We do teach our students this story … and show this and other videos and documentaries. Nothing compares to live listening. Absolutely nothing. And to listen to a man full of grace, and such a strong Christian, elevates this message and its impact, to a completely different experience.” ~Angela G.
“Thank you for being incredibly strong and turning such a tragedy into a message to save lives. Simply amazing!” ~Taylor H.
“Please keep advocating. We just got Bar Coding in our IV room. The push back for the workflow changes we get from the team, will definitely decrease once I share my thoughts on this talk. Thank You Mr. Jerry!” ~Kamil P.
“Thank you for sharing your story, Mr. Jerry. Your advocacy work for meaningful change is truly remarkable. God Bless you and your family.” ~Jeanette C.
“Thank you and many blessings. Your work is immensely important!” ~Manal F.
“You’re such an inspiration. God bless you” ~Chika I.
“Thank you for using the platform that was given to you to advocate for meaningful change and decriminalizing errors. Your story is so moving and compelling and we so appreciate you sharing your heart. May God continue to bless your work.” ~Theresa T.
“Thank you so much for sharing the story of Emily and your family. God bless you. You are a true inspiration Mr. Jerry.” ~Genevieve M.
“Thank you for your message of hope and God bless you!” ~Katherine P.
“Such a beautiful child! Your ability to forgive and work to prevent these events is astounding and admirable.” ~Lorraine M.
Looking back, it all seems so surreal. Fourteen years ago, on March 1st 2006, my wife and I had to make the absolute worst decision of our lives. After multiple EEG’s showed little, to no, brain activity, we took my beautiful baby girl, off life support. I will always remember that day, like it was yesterday, the day the doctor said Emily’s heart had stopped and mine somehow kept beating. On that horrific day, I never thought in a million years, anything good could ever come from such an unimaginable tragedy! Now, 14 years later, I truly believe that Emily’s short life here on earth was truly meant to save, quite possibly thousands, by affecting positive change in how we respond and learn from preventable medical error.
A few short years after her tragic passing, only by God’s grace, was I able to establish the Emily Jerry Foundation (www.emilyjerryfoundation.org), in my daughter’s memory. My sole intention with EJF was to help be a catalyst for positive change in patient and medication safety, finding solutions that would prevent, what happened to Emily, from ever happening again to others. I never would have chosen this very unconventional career path for myself, I truly believe it was chosen for me. Looking back over the past decade, in addition to many of my friends and family being supportive of EJF, it’s very humbling for me to think about what a great privilege it’s been to also have had the opportunity to work with so many amazing clinician/caregivers, some of the brightest minds in healthcare, who are just as passionate about patient safety as I am! This is precisely why I would like to thank everyone for all of your ongoing support, and most importantly, for helping to keep Emily’s legacy alive!
In the next few months, I also really look forward to formally announcing the details about the Emily Jerry Foundation’s new Scholarship Initiative for Future Leaders in Healthcare!
Happy Birthday my sweet Emily! Even though it seems like I just took these pictures of you a few short years ago, today you would be 16 years old! As your daddy, you will always be my baby girl, so I just can’t even comprehend the fact that you would have actually been driving this year! I want you to know that I still miss you dearly, but I take so much comfort in knowing that you are with our Lord and that I will get to see you one day, when we are reunited again in heaven!
Your short life here on earth is continuing to have such a profound impact on so many people around the globe, especially the clinician/caregivers in healthcare, who all know you by name! Your legacy continues to live on in so many amazing ways and has been such a catalyst for positive change in the world of patient and medication safety…helping to stop tragedies before they happen and ultimately saving countless lives!! Again, Happy Birthday Sweetheart! Love, Dad
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.
On behalf of the Emily Jerry Foundation, I had the great privilege of being able to give a virtual presentation on preventable medical error at Becton Dickinson’s (BD) U.S. Regional Leadership Meeting last week. As I always do, I… Read More
Receiving correspondence like this, over the past few weeks, is not only an immense blessing for me personally, it’s further confirmation that Emily’s legacy continues to live on in so many positive ways!! She’s certainly not being forgotten,… Read More
I am very pleased to say that my friend, Angela Rei Asatrian, has formally released her very important documentary called “Never Events.” Right after my daughter Emily’s tragic death, from a medication error in 2006, I really thought… Read More