Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Sepsis Death Needs Call to Action - Not Blaming

Terrible things happen every day. For example, on June 25, I wrote about how we were up to 33 drownings in the province of Quebec this year. As of this past weekend, we were at 45. It's a knee-jerk reaction to blame the parents or the people who were watching the children, but that doesn't bring the children back. We need to learn from the mistakes that happened and try to prevent further tragedies.

The same thing is happening, in my opinion, with the story about 12-year-old Rory Staunton, who died of sepsis after a cut on his arm became infected (NY Times report - Yahoo Shine report - NY Times OpEd).

What happened to Rory was a terrible, horrible tragedy. Did someone drop the ball? It sure seems so. But the finger pointing is leading to defensiveness and harsh words between people who blame the "evil" system and who they believe to be uncaring doctors, and doctors who are defending themselves saying that they can't know everything all the time - that sometimes, mistakes are made.

I know, I'm a nurse. I've made my share of errors as a nurse. Let me tell you, doctors and nurses, and other healthcare professionals, do not feel good when they make a mistake. Those mistakes often keep us awake at night and cause us great personal pain and distress. This is not anything like the pain a family or patient may feel, but people who work in the healthcare system are human - no more and no less than anyone else.

Blame doesn't get anyone anywhere. What we need to do to prevent another Rory or any of the others you will find here in the Faces of Sepsis from getting so ill, is to know what we are up against, to be knowledgeable about our own health. We need to push for action, for change.

Sepsis Alliance is a patient advocacy group in the United States and a founding member of the Global Sepsis Alliance. They have a call to action: Have all hospitals in the United States adopt Code Sepsis by year 2020. It wasn't all that long ago that hospitals began to adopt Code Blue, a protocol that kicks into action when someone has a cardiac arrest. Like Code Blue, Code Sepsis would be a protocol followed across the board, providing fluids and antibiotics within the first hour of the suspicion of sepsis. Code Blue has saved thousands of lives. Code Sepsis can too.

Push for sepsis awareness in your community. Push your government representatives to make sepsis awareness a priority. Push, push, push.

Blaming will not bring Rory Staunton back, but pushing for change, pushing for awareness - these will help prevent future tragedies like what has touched the Stauntons.

Late addition:

Please don't get me wrong. I understand blaming people, I understand there are often circumstances when a person's negligence or actions cause injuries or death and blame is a natural response. The point of this blog post is to try to explain how it would be a good thing for everyone - I think - for us to try to move past blame and work on action to prevent such injuries and deaths from happening to someone else. Working on action doesn't take away a person's culpability, but it moves things forward.

Monday, July 16, 2012

An Honour - a top 10 blog pick

It's always nice to be recognized for your work and I was very pleased to be chosen as one of 10 Canadian health and fitness bloggers that the people at She Knows Canada felt was worthy of highlighting and recommending to their readers.

Inspiration for Healthier Living; 10 Canadian health and fitness bloggers we love (I'm on the second page),  has some very interesting blogs written by people who could be your friend, your sibling, your neighbour. I feel I am in very good company.

When I write my posts, I try to pick topics that people are interested in, that they can identify with, and that need to be explained in a way that isn't too medical or clinical. It isn't always easy to find information like that on the Internet.

Some of my topics are perennial favourites and are visited at least a few times every day by people who find them through web searches. Other topics that I think will spark conversation don't. Who knows why some topics are more popular than others. I certainly never believed my post on broken hips would be my number one post - but it is.

I regularly get emails from people who want me to link to their for-profit blogs. I always say no. I want my blog to stay independent and free of any outside influences. I do take the occasional guest post, but only after ensuring that A) the person knows what he or she is talking about, and B) the topic falls into what I am trying to do: provide helpful information without trying to sell anything.

So, thank you to She Knows Canada for the recognition and thank you to those who come to my blog to read and to learn.