Kristin Terlizzi turned her near-death experience into a crusade to warn new moms of a little-known birth complication. Patience Leino embarked on life’s work of helping other patients, teaming up with the very hospital where she lost her own baby boy. Susan Hassmiller thanked the nurse whose compassion helped her cope with grievous loss. And toward the end, the story behind Jack Whelan’s Lifetime Achievement Award brought an audience of top hospital executives to tears.
It’s just a slice of the patient stories that took center stage at the Patients’ View Institute’s 2017 Impact Awards this month in Washington, DC with the Leapfrog Group. (More about the winners in this post.). Here’s the video with highlights. Our videographer Shawn Wehland not only did a superb job with it; he was so moved himself by these stories he created additional videos about Kristin Terlizzi and Gabe Howard (winner of our Hope Award – the video explains it.) And then there’s this video we played leading up to Jack’s Lifetime Achievement Award. (My only armor against dissolving into tears on stage was the fact I’d already seen it a dozen times and had cried myself out.)
My heart has been so full this month. First the Awards, which gives a national platform to some of the most inspiring servant leaders in health care. Then the holidays were here, and I got to spend them with my beautiful family. After more than a decade working in patient advocacy, and despite how much work remains to ensure health care is safe, affordable and accessible for all, today I feel only gratitude.
Thank you, thank you to Leah Binder and the Leapfrog Group (winner of our 2017 Patient Champion Award) for first embracing partnership with PVI three years ago to present these awards. Thank you to the National Board of Medical Examiners, for your sponsorship these last three years, and for recognizing that patients are at the core of why health care exists. Your generosity let us not only fly the winners to the event, but also invite their loved ones, so they could share the evening with them. You can see from the videos how much this meant to them.
I hope the recognition from PVI helps catapult award recipients more fully into policy-making and speaking opportunities. I hope hospital leaders in the audience, when they head back to work, will look with renewed eagerness for the stories of excellence and healing that their staff create every day…and work with patients to submit them for next year’s awards.
And I hope, looking ahead to 2018, those patients and families whose stories are not happy ones, can find the strength to forge ahead, and the light of purpose and hope.
On behalf of PVI, best wishes for a safe, healthy, prosperous and happy New Year.