Tracy’s Walk for Safety in Chicago in support of Dave’s Walk
May 22, 2020 @ 8:00 am - June 3, 2020 @ 5:00 pm PDT
Downtown Chicago to Wrigley Field and Back 60605 United States
Since 2007, I’ve been supporting David Mayer’s and Tim McDonald’s patient safety mission, helping them build platforms and stories to create a more patient-centered, equitable, and transparent culture of safety in medicine. Through these efforts, I’ve met Helen Haskell, Patty & David Skolnik, Carole Hemmelgarn, Barb, Bob & Krissy Malizzo, and Sorrel King and they told us, and audiences around the world, their stories of loss over and over again so that care could be made safer for all of us. I listened to the tearful stories of young medical students, nurses and resident physicians at the Telluride Patient Safety Summer Camps confessing sins of the profession — either witnessed or experienced — left unprotected by those charged with mentoring and protecting them. I met the most well-intended physicians and nurses heartbroken after harming a patient, or witnessing harm to a patient. Many became my friends, and each time I heard them tell their stories my heart ached for them. Finally, I learned the real drivers of the continued patient safety crisis include greed, fear and ego, and a medical-legal machine built on multi-million dollar courtroom wins, and my heart broke a little more. Last fall, I was ready to change my career path; maybe write fiction or screenplays. If the stories we were telling weren’t really changing things to the degree we had hoped, what was the point? And then I met Jack and Teresa Gentry. Jack isn’t one of the 240,000 killed by preventable medical error each year. He’s one of the 1M+ disabled or injured by preventable medical harm each year. He had lived a life of service; a police officer, negotiator and SWAT Team member for a total of 37 years. He had retired just over a year before a medical error left him an incomplete quadriplegic. The surgeon was heartbroken, and called Teresa immediately from the operating room. Medstar Health was open and honest about what happened, and Jack refused to let this catastrophic injury stand in the way of the life of service he had yet to live. Teresa told me, “You can’t quit. We can’t quit.” And she was right. We can’t quit until every patient and provider is safe within every health system across the US. So I’m walking, and I’ll continue to tell these stories in the hope that every step, every story keeps moving us forward to zero preventable harm.