My family’s approach to raising awareness (and a few dollars)

Earlier this year I was talking with my mother about what we might do to educate people about the need for disclosure of unanticipated medical outcomes and medical errors. We came up with a couple ideas. One was for her to speak to local groups, and another was to send information directly to the members of the Kansas Committee on Health and Human Services (that is the committee that will decide if my family’s bill moves to the floor of the House for a vote).

We decided that this fall we would send copies of two books, The Wall of Silence and Unaccountable, to each member of the committee. (The price for the pair coming just under the limit of $40 for gifts to legislators.)

My mother has also been able to speak to a several groups in her area over the last six months. As a way to let the committee members know that disclosure of unanticipated outcomes and medical errors is supported by many people—not just my family—people from the audiences had the opportunity to sign a letter and donate $1 toward the cost of the books. (At first I tried to talk my mother out of the $1 limit, but she wanted everyone to be able to contribute and have an equal voice in making their view known, regardless of their financial situation. After considering that for a few moments, I realized that we probably need a lot more of that perspective in our country.)

A total of 108 people signed the letter and donated $1, and the books and letters have now been sent off. I sincerely hope that the committee members find some time to read the books before the next legislative session starts in the middle of January.

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