This campaign is the brainchild of Anesthesiologist Dr. Robert Hackett (@patientsafe3) and myself after he approached me to help him get out his safety messages. I have to be honest, at first he frustrated me by his attempts to persuade me on Twitter but after talking to him, I saw he was passionate about patient safety in a way I was and I realized he was frustrated because he was constrained by the medium. I remember this quote from Canada’s first Prime Minister Sir John A. MacDonald
My sins of omission and commission I do not deny; but I trust that it may be said of me in the ultimate issue, ‘Much is forgiven because he loved much,’ for I have loved my country with a passionate love.
As opposed to be frustrated by Rob, I say why not change the medium because he has a lot to say. I bet many others have a lot to say which we could learn from – so let’s create that place to listen and hence the discussion board (link below).
I’m going to start out by apologizing because this is the Canadian way. The introduction has a Canadian theme but the book below says it all…
We are a hardy lot with a penchant for anything maple – maple syrup, maple bacon, maple candy and we love our national animal the beaver. One thing I have come to know about Canadians is that we are a balance of humour, humility, and honour, but are willing to stand up and debate or even fight when the world needs it. When we do so however, we do it from a moral standpoint all the while trying to follow decorum. As of this year we are 150 years strong in this tradition. This site was created in that spirit – the spirit of creating a forum of respectful debate about patient care.
Let come back to the reason for Rob’s and my passion. Patient harm due to medical misadventure is a serious issues costing both lives and significant money that could be used elsewhere. Rob has some great material here and you can also see great info from the Canadian Patient Safety Institute, The Institute for Health Care Improvement, The Armstrong Institute for Patient Safety and Quality, or most stuff from Atul Gawande. I know there are many other organizations in other countries so please look at the statistics and information from your own area but these are the ones I follow.
We would like you to walk through the front door of a House of Commons – a place where all sit on equal footing and debate can happen freely and with decorum about how to attain best safety practices. Maybe you just watch the debate and learn or decide to engage, but this is the place to see if what you believe is justified or is there another way to look at things.
The cornerstone of a full conversation is that of respectful debate.
Here are some suggestions on how to do so (these were just such great resources and as opposed to plagiarize and pretend some brilliance I don’t have, I will just post them as is).
If you post, make your arguments learned and based upon research and not passion or ad hominem attacks. There is a wealth of resources out there upon which to make your arguments.
One essential principle – one that I cannot emphasize enough – is that we are all fallible and will make mistakes. Anyone who says they are perfect are simply not paying attention. I would like to provide a wonderful example from the Senate Foyer of the Canadian House of Commons. There were stained glass inserts on the ceiling commemorating speakers of the Senate until 1920. As they were being made, the artist wanted to allow for all future speakers with a generic name “Quelqu’un” meaning “somebody”, but it was accidentally misspelled. Error can happen within majesty and beauty.
So when you write, remember that. Try to see how error could happen to any us and try to figure your way out of the tiger-trap for all.
We will have a few Speakers of the House (moderators) who will ensure that the debate is respectful and considerate. Also, do not use specifics as this could harm patients, colleagues, and may even have legal implications. Also, it is not a place to air grievances – the House is far more regal than to allow that.
Here is to good debating the Canadian way. Even moreso, here is to patient safety – a just thing to fight for. I leave you with a few great words from Sir John A MacDonald
Politics is a game requiring great coolness and an utter abnegation of prejudice and personal feeling.
Anybody may support me when I am right. What I want is someone that will support me when I am wrong.
Please visit waronerror.ca and post your thoughts on patient safety.
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