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Chris Channon was a humanitarian aid worker walking down a beach in Koh Lipe, Thailand, little more than three years ago when he was hit in the back of the neck with a steel pipe, the victim of a violent robbery.
Following emergency surgery in Thailand, Chris was flown home to Toronto. What followed was a 16-week inpatient stay at Toronto Rehab – Lyndhurst Centre, and nine months of care as an outpatient.
It was a time when he was grateful for his care as he made great strides in his recovery – Chris is now able to transfer, take short walks and navigate his power wheelchair on his own.
But he also experienced mistakes made by healthcare teams, mishaps that while not deliberate or intentional on the part of staff, nonetheless caused preventable harm.
October is ...
It's that disconnect – wonderful care punctuated by human error – that has motivated Chris to become a UHN Patient Partner in hopes of offering his perspective and making this a safer place for all.
Tonight, Chris will reach another milestone on his journey, becoming the first patient to lead a UHN Caring Safely education session when he joins Dr. Anthony Hanbidge, Radiologist, and Brenda Perkins-Meingast, Director, Practice Based Education, to teach the Caring Safely Safety Behaviours and Error Prevention Toolkit module to a group of 25 physicians.
"I got involved in these sessions with the idea that if I could impact just one life and bring awareness to the human side of my journey, then my goal is accomplished," Chris says.
The session will be the first in a series of Caring Safely modules scheduled for Joint Department of Medical Imaging (JDMI) physicians. To date, nearly 5,300 UHN leaders and staff have received the Caring Safety training, the first step in enabling a culture where we can "speak up for safety."
In this three-hour session, participants will learn about Error Prevention Tools and will have the opportunity to practice them understand how they can be applied in their practice to help eliminate human error.
Dr. Hanbidge, one of five physician faculty members, says that Caring Safely has provided improvements in his own practice. He looks forward to working with colleagues and teaching this module.
"I am more conscious of the potential for harm in healthcare in day-to-day practice," Dr. Hanbidge says. "The toolkit addresses areas of particular risk.
"I am trying to utilize the recommendations and share them with others."
Brenda says: "Physicians play a major role within the healthcare team; they are an important contributor in our efforts to eliminate preventable harm.
"To have physician faculty like Dr. Hanbidge is amazing; his passion for patient safety is contagious and he is truly committed to the 'needs of his patients coming first.'"
Adds Chris: "I believe if this program [Caring Safely] impacts the life of just one patient or staff member, then it is worth putting an effort into."