The Voice of the Patient
Each year, tens of thousands of patients and their families are confronted by the tragedy of preventable hospital deaths.
Here are some of their stories.
Ten years ago, Lenore Alexander's 11-year-old daughter Leah 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 werre intended to ease her pain.
Lewis Blackman, a healthy, gifted 15-year-old, underwent elective surgery at the Medical University of South Carolina (MUSC). In one of the state's most modern hospitals, he bled to death over a period of 30 hours while those caring for him missed signs that he was in grave peril. Today his mother Helen Haskell is one of the nation's leading patient safety advocates.
John LaChance, who served in the United States Navy, was set to undergo rotator cuff repair surgery — a fairly routine operation, and his second such procedure. John also had a condition called sleep apnea, which when mixed with opioids puts a patient at a higher risk of respiratory depression. Unfortunately, this condition was dismissed by all attending medical staff.
Certified nurse case manager Malinda Loflin tells the story of the tragic death of her father, Robert Goode. In 2006, Robert passed away from opioid-induced respiratory depression after a routine surgery while in hospital. Melinda talks about that experience, and the impact on her and her family in the years since.