I applaud all who took part in the New Hampshire Hospital Association meeting September 22-24 which discussed ways to tighten up systems in an attempt to stop drug diversions which will ultimately help to prevent patient harm like the Hepatitis C outbreak which occurred in New Hampshire.
As a victim of a similar outbreak, I can attest to the fact that so often we just do not feel heard by the people who can make the most difference. Drug diversion is a real problem which can be so easily dismissed by hospital and clinic employees and administrators. This is why in 2009 I partnered with state legislators in Colorado to pass some very important laws. These laws called for the registration of all surgical techicians like the one who diverted drugs and infected me and 3 dozen others with Hepatitis C as well as the easier communication between systems to catch possible issues with an employee much earlier. My sincere hope is New Hampshire is able to implement some of the same legislation as a stop gap to future incidences like the one at Exeter Hospital in 2012.
Early on, I learned that if we as victims did not speak up, nothing would change. Our stories served as a backdrop for legislators, health officials and others to move forward in the passing of HB 1414 and HB 1415 in Colorado. If we have any chance at passing similar legislation in New Hampshire, we need those so dreadfully affected in the Exeter outbreak to lend their voices to the fight. By simply telling your story, you can influence change.
There is strength in numbers and with the help of the NHHA, HONOReform and others, we can be heard.
The goal is to pass a medical techician registry bill first at the state level but more importantly at the national level so we can more easily see red flags and exchange information state to state.
Yes, we have been harmed in the most tragic of ways. So now the question to ask is “How can I help to prevent this from happening again?”
My invitation is for you to speak out, tell your story, whether you are one who has been infected or are related to someone who is still struggling from the ongoing effects of this disease. The lawmakers and others need to understand we are real people, not so unlike themselves, who are coping with significant medical and mental health issues because the systems were not strong enough to keep us safe.
You can make a difference, you can be heard! Will you please join in on our efforts to make things safer for everyone?
Please let me know how I can help you to become involved. I can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or through HONOReform at www.honoreform.org.