Have you or someone you know been hurt by the Canadian Healthcare System?

You are not alone. Millions of Canadians are affected by medical error
resulting in death or injury during their lifetimes.

We're glad you came here. We invite you to join us as we form an organization which strives
to improve patient safety and enshrine patient rights, because every patient matters.

Join us. Contribute your voice and talents. Make a difference.

Email: impatient4change@gmail.com
Facebook: ImPatient for Change
Twitter: @Right2SafeCare


Sunday, December 12, 2010

Reaching Out to the Wind

In reaching out to other survivors, we've heard a common theme of isolation.

Sometimes it feels, as survivors of medical error, as if we are alone in a vacuum or lost in some vortex in the universe. We reach out to people around us to tell them what happened, and we get what I call the five stages of rejection:

1 - Disbelief: Your story is crazy. I mean, in Canada? I've never heard of that before. Are you sure? That doesn't make any sense.

2 - Sympathy: Ok, if that happened, that's awful. You poor thing. What a horror story.

3 - Stereotyping "The Other": Why did that happen to you? What is it about you that would make that happen? I mean, I certainly wouldn't want to think that I'm vulnerable too.

4 - Leaving it to "the expert": I'm sorry. I just don't know anything about this, so I don't think I can get involved. I'm not a medical expert.

5 - The "shut down": Look, I'm sorry that happened. But I told you I don't know what to say or do, and besides, this is rather negative and scary. And I'd rather focus on things which directly affect me or which make me happy. Life is short and we all have to move on. You can't change the system.

So many of us encounter this reaction. And we further withdraw, give up, self-blame, self-harm, lose trust, get depressed, and swim silently in trauma. We're a bunch of fallen trees and nobody is listening.

When something like medical error happens to us, we suddenly become aware of another plane of existence, of the world of the injured and grieving. And we struggle to communicate about that world to those who haven't fallen through the holes yet.

We need numbers. We need a voice. And we need mechanisms of empowerment.

How do we get there? By learning to think and speak a little differently about the problem.

Let's start with affirmations:

We are numerous.

We are strong.

And together we CAN change the system.

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