At the CLEAR Conference at Denver, they had Patricia Skolnik as the keynote speaker.
She told us about the tragic story of her son, Michael and what she did about it.
Here is the documentary that she referenced in her speech –
Thanks to YouTube user, solidlinemedia, for hosting the video!
If you don’t have time to watch the video, here is a quick summary of it :
The theme of the speech was “Can a Conversation Save a Life.” It is all about how doctors and nurses should make sure there is a real exchange of thoughts when discussing one’s medical treatment.
People were crying in the conference room. At one point, I wanted to just get on a plane and go hug my own son and just hope he never has anything this tragic happen to him. Luckily, his doctor, Dr. Danielson, is amazing and super forthcoming and tells us additional information that we hadn’t even thought to ask yet. She’s pretty great.
Because of what happen to Michael, Patricia worked extremely hard and got the Michael Skolnik Medical Transparency Act passed.
Michael Skolnik Medical Transparency Act
For all physicians who hold an active or inactive license issued by the Colorado Board of
Medical Examiners prior to December 31, 2007, you will have to comply with the
requirements of the Michael Skolnik Transparency Act beginning with the May 31, 2009
renewal period. Licensing is the responsibility of each physician and, in accordance with
the Act, you will be asked to provide information regarding, but not limited to, medical
licenses ever held, current and active board certifications and specialties, affiliations with
hospitals and health-care facilities, business ownership in any business whose mission
relates to providing health-care services or products, employment contracts related to
health care, disciplinary actions, actions against medical privileges, criminal conviction
or plea arrangements, and resolution of medical malpractice claims. For more
information, please go to the CMBE website at http://www.dora.state.co.us/medical/
Also, the Office of Professional Risk Management will be providing information on
resolution of medical malpractice claims which have occurred while you have been
employed by the University of Colorado, and UPI will be providing information
regarding current independent contractor agreements of which it is aware. However, it is
your responsibility to collect all of the requisite information in order to maintain your licensure.
I used this link to get that copy, as the website wouldn’t work as a link here.
She was even able to get it amended twice more, once to include nurses and a second time to strengthen the act on patients benefit.
That’s the thing about this case is that it really puts you in her place. If a doctor, that a good friend recommended to me, told me that my son had 48 hours to live and really needed an operation, what would I do? Is 48 hours enough time to even get a second opinion? Most doctors have extremely filled schedules and this doctor made a special appointment to see her son. It is in a field that I have no real reference point for. One would hope that your doctor well tell you everything but it is hard to know what to ask. She had this great line about how she didn’t even not know what she knew to even ask about. When it comes to our health, especially after a bad diagnosis, it is hard to think of questions while your mind is swirling around about the future.
Patricia highly recommends bringing someone with you to all of your doctor appointments, so that they can ask questions on your behalf, or to remind you of your own questions that you may forget at the end of the session.
It was nice that this session was at midday Thursday, as it was a nice ice breaker for the rest of the conference as everyone had a reaction to the subject material.
The Act is only for Colorado but various states have passed similar acts.
It really was a very powerful presentation and I’m still thinking about it, nearly two weeks later.