Dale Ann Micalizzi took her 11-year-old son Justin to a hospital in upstate New York one evening because his ankle had an infection that needed to be drained. It was supposed to be a 10-minute procedure. Justin never woke up.
That happened in 2001. Today, Dale and her husband Gary head up a non-profit group called Justin’s HOPE, which is dedicated to improving health care for children. She speaks often to medical staff in hospitals. One important message she gives to hospital administrators: When a mistake has happened, deal openly and honestly with the parents.
Any parent who can turn their grief into something positive is a real hero. Especially when that child has died an unnecessary, preventable death due to medical errors, the easier thing would be to retreat into numbness and bitterness. So I salute Dale Micalizzi.
I celebrate a number of heroes of the patient safety movement in my book, The Life You Save: Nine Steps to Finding the Best Medical Care — and Avoiding the Worst.
You can read more about Dale’s advocacy in an article in the Schenectady Gazette.