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Patient Stories

Medical error can have devastating effects. Here, in their own words, Connecticut families tell the stories of how medical error changed their lives forever.

Rory Freeman
November 1 of each year is the anniversary of the day that we were all impacted by catastrophic medical error and our lives were changed forever – in 1991.  On that day, in a prestigious teaching hospital, my 37 year old husband, Rory, went in for what the surgeon described would be a routine, commonly done decompression of the spine... more

Susan Manganello
My daughter Jennifer became significantly disabled following a spinal fusion seven years ago ... more

Katie Tyra
Bill Tyra tells Katie's Story of Medical Negligence ... more

Brian, Sydney's Dad, shares her story of life with cerebral palsy ... more

Mary Ellen Ladd tells her son Peter's story of getting elected to the student council as an unusual candidate. Peter has CP. When Peter saw this video, he loved it ... more

T. Stewart Hamilton, M.D.
My father turned 91 ten days before his death, July 29 2002 of MRSA. Dad was old, with his share of medical problems but he exercised every day, did the crossword puzzle in ink daily and we were planning a cruise ... more

In May 2006, my wife gave birth to two beautiful twin boys. They were 7 weeks premature, but relatively healthy with Apgar scores of 9. Michael weighed 5 lbs, 5 oz., Matthew weighed 4 lbs, 7oz ... more

Katty Chavarria
Katherine, we call her Katty, was born almost five years ago on January 1, 1999. She was our first child and my husband rushed me to the emergency room when I went into labor. I had been diagnosed with a separation of the placenta ... more

Marcelle Franchino
I was born between the wars in a small village in France, near Grenoble. By the time I was two, both my parents had died and my brother, sister and I were raised by an aunt and uncle. Then the war came and the Germans ... more

Felecia Gerardi
On March 10, 2006, following a routine laparoscopic hysterectomy, I knew there was a problem. A very disgusting and odoriferous discharge was coming from my body. No tests were ordered on the discharge and I was cauterized three days after the surgery. ... more

Matthew Gersz
On January 16, 2001 our family was devastated by the loss of our beautiful son, Matthew David Gersz, at the age of 22. Matt was our first-born son and the first grandchild on both sides of the family. You can imagine the joy ... more

Steve Govoni
My wife Kate died suddenly at age 41 after a routine allergy shot in a doctors office. Our then four-year-old son was sitting next to her when she started coughing, then screamed and collapsed from anaphylactic shock ... more

Britt Harwe
My name is Brittmarie Harwe from Wethersfield and I am the co-founder of the Chiropractic Stroke Awareness Group which consists of hundreds of young people, most between the ages of 25 and 48 who have been injured by chiropractic adjustments. I am testifying in support of ... more

Marilyn Jasmin
I am an insulin dependent diabetic and I needed back surgery. Six days after the operation I woke up screaming in pain and was ambulanced back to the hospital. When the surgeon saw me, I was immediately taken into surgery and filleted like a fish ... more

Peggy Lillis
Public service announcement about clostridium difficile infections based on the story of Peggy Lillis, a 56 year old, Brooklyn Kindergarten teacher who lost her life to this little known infection in April 2010. View YouTube Video

Rudy Passero
It's called polycythemia vera, the Mediterranean sickle cell disease, an over-abundance of red blood cells. But that's not what killed my father. What killed him was bad medicine and careless decision-making ... more

Lorraine J. Piurowski
My name is Lorraine Piurowski and I am a resident of South Windsor. In October 2007, my husband underwent successful surgery for cancer. His hospital records indicate that he was progressing well. He was able to walk the hospital corridor, eat a regular diet, and use the bathroom without assistance. ... more

Brian Reich
Five years ago Sydney was born. Because of poor judgment she was born with cerebral palsy. Sydney has been deprived of many of the activities that are experienced by other children. Sydney has yet to enjoy and probably will not ever enjoy ... more

Gus Velez
I write you today because in 2002 I was a young man with an upcoming marriage and a promising future as a financial analyst. Then I was dealt a terrible blow that will change my entire life ... more


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Becoming a More Empowered Patient

First, we have chosen to share a video by Consumer Health Choices: Talking With Your Doctor. In it you will see how preparing for you appointment can make a difference.

We have chosen a second video by the National Patient Safety Foundation: AskMe3, to share with you. Here, you learn that there are three important questions to ask your doctor whenever you see him or her.

Finally, we are sharing a series of videos by Dartmouth-Hitchcock:
Self-Advocacy: The Empowered Patient,
Self-Advocacy: Preparing for your Visit,
Self-Advocacy: Why It's Important To Share and
Self-Advocacy: Doing Research.

For the complete story, please click here

5 Things to Know

  1. What you need to know in the Hospital
  2. 15 Steps You Can Take To Reduce Your Risk of a Hospital Infection
  3. Selecting Doctors & Hospitals
  4. What to do to avoid medication error
  5. AHRQ Director Helps Consumers Navigate the Health Care System in a New Advice Column on the Web

You've Suffered Medical Harm - Now What Do You Do?

According to a recent article published by ProPublica titled: So You’ve Become a Patient Safety Statistic – Now What? by Marshall Allen there are six things to do….

  1. Get a copy of medical records.
  2. Make sure the incident is reported internally.
  3. If the patient has died, order a forensic autopsy.
  4. Consider calling an attorney.
  5. Meet with the doctor and hospital officials.
  6. Report the incident to regulators, who can investigate.

For greater detail and more important information, please read the full article.