If you’re wondering whether it makes any difference for patients to share their stories, check out this blog by Dr. David Mayer, where he shares some reflections after reading “Collateral Damage,” a book by one of our group members, Dan Walter.
Mayer, the vice president of quality and safety for MedStar Health, writes that he was particularly struck by the way Walter explained the difference between an “accomplice” and a “witness,” in terms of health care providers who are aware of patient harm taking place. A witness is someone who sees something wrong and reports it. The same is not true for an accomplice. “(Walter) raises the question that if we as caregivers witness something wrong and don’t report it, aren’t we really accomplices to the wrong when we turn our back and walk away?”
As he read the book, Mayer, who is an anesthesiologist, said that it made him wonder if he had been an accomplice to wrongdoing.
Mayer’s blog clearly shows that sharing patient stories matters, so maybe the best question is what are the best ways for patients to tell their stories? Are some approaches more effective than others? What have you seen that works, and what have you seen that does not work?