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Emily Musing and Lennox Huang at symposium
Emily Musing, Vice-President, Quality and Safety and UHN’s Chief Patient Safety Officer, and Dr. Lennox Huang, Chief Medical Officer and Vice-President for Medical and Academic Affairs, Hospital for Sick Children, address participants at the 2019 Caring Safely Symposium. (Photo: UHN)

She remembers her daughter longingly.

"An accomplished young woman – a high school music and French teacher, violinist in a symphony orchestra, an athlete, she lived an amazing life," says a UHN Patient Partner, who wishes to remain anonymous.

At age 30, her daughter was diagnosed with colitis and put on a series of medications, one of which carried the risk of a series of side effects. In the spring of 2015, she developed a cough and an X-ray revealed a large mass in her chest, which providers identified as "likely lymphoma."

What followed was weeks of delays in getting her daughter an official diagnosis and treatment. The young woman ultimately went into respiratory distress during this waiting period. She was intubated and taken to the intensive care unit, where she went into heart failure.

 Her daughter did not survive. She was 32.

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"We were all devastated and our lives were forever changed," says the Patient Partner, who worked with UHN officials to better understand the errors which led to her daughter's death in the hope lessons could be learned to improve safety and further a just culture.

"But I was determined to find out what had happened – and I am grateful to the staff here who encouraged me to do just that."

'Through stories like this, we can learn from our past mistakes'

The UHN Patient Partner courageously shared her daughter's story at this week's 2019 Caring Safely Symposium.

"Through stories like this we can learn from our past mistakes, and work to make sure this never happens to anyone again," said Emily Musing, Vice-President, Quality and Safety and UHN's Chief Patient Safety Officer.

"We are all empowered through an open exchange and can move closer to creating a just culture and zero preventable harm at UHN."

A partnership between UHN and the Hospital for Sick Children, the day-long event shared successes in creating a culture that provides the highest levels of safety and quality care for patients, caregivers and staff.

It also recognized TeamUHN members from across the organization with Caring Safely Spirit Awards.

Recipients make up a wide range of staff who embody the learnings of Caring Safely, including Safety Coaches, teams with record-setting safety successes and individuals who have helped champion Caring Safely on their units. 

Congratulations to the Caring Safely Spirit Award recipients:

  • Allogeneic Stem Cell Transplant Team, Princess Margaret Cancer Centre (PM)
  • Kathy Bates, Emergency Department Manager, Toronto Western Hospital (TW)
  • Veroneike Buntin, Manager, Complex Continuing Care, Toronto Rehab (TR)
  • Aideen Carroll, Advance Practice Nurse Educator, Toronto General Hospital (TG) & TW
  • Jocelyne De Romana, Manager, Thoracic/Respirology, TG
  • Bryan Divers, Occupational Therapist, TR
  • Jared Drepaul, Senior Admin,  Learning Management System 
  • Clare Fielding, Clinical Nurse Specialist, Critical Care, TG
  • Sean Kilpatrick, UHN Patient Partner
  • Kingsley Lai, Medical Imaging Technologist, TW
  • Jennifer Ryan, Administrative Assistant, PM
  • Stroke Service, 9S, TR
  • Dr. Fayez Quereshy, Surgical Oncologist
  • UHN Environmental Services​​
Group shot of award recipients
Some of the recipients of the Caring Safely Spirit Awards, who were recognized at the day-long symposium. (Photo: UHN)

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