Dan Ford developed a deep passion for patient safety as a result of medical errors experienced in Illinois by his first wife, Diane, and the inhumane treatment experienced when he asked Diane’s providers logical questions about what happened. The mother of three children (11, 14, and 17 at the time), Diane was pursuing her second master’s degree when she entered the hospital for a hysterectomy. During surgery, her colon was cut, leading to a colostomy. Twelve hours later, she overdosed on morphine given to her through a PCA pump. The code team was called, and took over 21 minutes to intubate her. Narcan was not available. This time frame caused a respiratory arrest and permanent brain damage/short-term memory loss. This was followed by three other hospitalizations and two major surgeries…residuals of her initial hospitalization/surgeries. Diane now resides in an independent living facility.
Desiring to convert his anger, hurt, and frustration into constructive activities, and using his visibility as a health care executive search consultant, Dan accepted invitations to become involved with the American Society for Healthcare Risk Management in 2002 and the National Patient Safety Foundation in 2004. He has since given over 70 patient safety presentations, including at the Annual Leaders Forum of World Health Professions Alliance in Geneva, Switzerland in 2006, and to boards of directors, executive management and physician leaders of hospitals, systems, and other provider and insurance companies. His experience on patient safety and quality boards of directors and committees includes the MHA Keystone Center for Patient Safety, TJC, NQF, ISMP, TMIT, AzHHA, IHI, CHP, Carondelet Health Network, and GE.
Dan focuses on patient expectations, roles that patients and families can play, and expectations of leadership. Consistent with his values, he feels the industry needs to focus on:
- Leaders that are role models for patient safety and high quality;
- Partnering by providers/clinicians with patients and families, including inviting patients and family members to participate in their own root cause analyses;
- Patient and family-centered care;
- Portals for direct patient entry into the electronic medical record;
- A genuine patient and family-centered focus by insurance companies and the legal profession;
- Human civility, respect, and transparency.
Dan recently retired from a fulfilling 36-year career as a health care executive search consultant. He continues his patient safety passion and journey, including presentations, boards/committees, writing, workshops, and networking with other patient safety advocates and provider colleagues. He is enjoying more time with his three children and five grandchildren. He has an MBA from the University of Chicago and is a lifetime fellow of the American College of Healthcare Executives.