Patient Safety Advocates Join Forces to Create The Empowered Patient Coalition

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Longtime patient safety advocates Helen Haskell and Julia Hallisy announce the formation of a new patient safety advocacy organization, The Empowered Patient Coalition, a non-profit group devoted to helping patients improve the quality of their health care through an unprecedented level of information and instruction. Haskell and Hallisy have a new publication, The Empowered Patient Guide to Hospital Care for Patients and Families available via download or by mail order from their newly launched website.

Patient Safety Advocates from Mothers Against Medical Error and The Empowered Patient join forces to create the Empowered Patient Coalition

Longtime patient safety advocates Julia Hallisy and Helen Haskell announce the formation of a new patient advocacy organization, the Empowered Patient Coalition, a nonprofit group devoted to helping patients improve the quality of their health care through information, education and advocacy. The Coalition website, http://www.empoweredpatientcoalition.org, includes fact sheets, checklists, recommended reading, and other resources intended to give patients the tools to improve their own health care experiences. The website also features Hallisy's and Haskell's new publication, The Empowered Patient Guide to Hospital Care for Patients and Families, a downloadable interactive journal and guidebook that approaches hospital care from the perspective of preventing infections and adverse events.

San Francisco, CA, September 28, 2009-- Kate Hallisy was infected with staph bacteria during a routine knee biopsy. To save her life, she had to undergo an above-the-knee amputation -- at the age of eight.

Lewis Blackman, a healthy, athletic teenager, entered a hospital for elective surgery. Four days later he died in the hospital of an untreated medical complication -- at the age of fifteen.

Two years after overcoming her hospital-acquired infection, Kate succumbed to the cancer that was the reason for her original biopsy. But her mother, San Francisco dentist Julia Hallisy, remained deeply troubled by the flaws in the medical system that had brought so much additional pain to her daughter's brief life. In 2007, seven years after Kate's death, Julia fulfilled a promise to her daughter and published a 50,000-word book called The Empowered Patient, aimed at teaching patients how to avoid medical mistakes.

Across the country in South Carolina, Lewis's mother, Helen Haskell, was also haunted by the system errors that had allowed a minor problem in her son's care to snowball into a fatal event. Like Dr. Hallisy, she joined the growing national patient safety movement, helping found the advocacy organization Mothers Against Medical Error and passing a state law in her son's name. After she met Dr. Hallisy at a conference in 2006, the two mothers entered into a long-distance collaboration that evolved into expanding and revising Hallisy's book into a user-friendly guide that people could take with them to the hospital.

Julia Hallisy and Helen Haskell have now joined forces to create the Empowered Patient Coalition, a nonprofit organization intended to put into practice its founders' belief that the education and empowerment of patients is the logical foundation for improving patient care. The Coalition website, http://www.empoweredpatientcoalition.org, draws on the two advocates' years of research and networking to offer fact sheets, checklists, publications and other resources to advance the goal of empowering patients through information and advocacy.

The website also marks the debut of the Empowered Patient Coalition's first publication, The Empowered Patient Guide to Hospital Care for Patients and Families. Loosely based on Dr. Hallisy's book, The Empowered Patient Guide to Hospital Care for Patients and Families is a blueprint for patients to interact with the health care system in ways that are safe, successful, and empowering. It includes an interactive patient journal, a guide to recognizing symptoms of a dangerously declining patient, and a guidebook that gives patients and family members specific tools and resources to become capable and confident members of their health care team. The Empowered Patient Guide to Hospital Care for Patients and Families is available at http://www.empoweredpatientcoalition.org through download or mail order.

Contacts:
Dr. Julia Hallisy Julia(at)EmpoweredPatientCoalition.org (415) 681-1011
Helen Haskell Helen(at)EmpoweredPatientCoalition.org (803) 254-8804

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