Thursday, November 20, 2008

Fox Guarding the Chicken Coop? In the Bag?

There was a story in last Friday’s Globe about Jason Fox, a young child who died at Children’s Hospital, and the investigation surrounding his death. Just looking at the picture of this beautiful baby boy, one can’t help but feel enormous sympathy for his grieving family. The loss of a child is an unimaginable tragedy.

There are serious allegations of withheld medical records, substandard care, and so on. We won't comment on the facts of the case as there is a great deal of investigation going on by a number of parties, and it is unclear from the article exactly what happened. What is clear, however, is that a family has been devastated. We know, too, that the clinicians (the doctors, nurses, and everyone else involved in Jason's care) must also be significantly affected by Jason's death.

Sometimes events like these can have a polarizing effect, and they serve to trigger strong emotions on all sides. This is especially evidenced in the online reader comments to the story. Unfortunately, we can still see an “us against them” mentality. At MITSS, we recognize that adverse events have significant consequences for ALL involved, and we advocate for patients/families, clinicians, and healthcare institutions to work together to find common ground and work toward effective solutions. After all, we are all human, and we all have a stake in safe, quality healthcare.

One reader comment stuck out for us especially, and we felt it important to comment. Sconiico writes…

Classic example of the fox guarding the chicken coop…

- heck, the lay group formed to help such victims (Medically induced trauma support services aka MITSS) has its office rent paid by Brigham & Womens Hospital. Everyone is in the bag!...

In the interests of complete transparency, we’d like to offer the following response:

As a small non-profit, MITSS relies on the generous donations (financial and in-kind) of organizations and individuals from both in and out of healthcare. Brigham and Women's Hospital has generously provided us with an in-kind donation of office space. They, like our other donors, support our mission and share our vision. However, we remain an autonomous organization governed by our own independent Board of Directors. We would invite anyone to contact us at (617) 232-0090 or visit our website at and would welcome the opportunity to clear up any other misconceptions.

Appropriately, the theme of our annual event last week was Together, Moving Forward!, and that is our sincerest hope for the upcoming year.


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