Johnny Robertson is a survivor of the 2008 North Carolina outbreak and serves as a member of the North Carolina One and Only Campaign. He recently hosted a house party to talk about injection safety.
We all know it takes a village to raise a child, but it takes a community to prevent an outbreak.
Johnny Robertson is trying to do just that – bring together the community to prevent an outbreak of disease due to unsafe injections. Along with other members of his community, he contracted Hepatitis C from reuse of syringes in a medical office in 2008.
Johnny invited vital community groups to his home on a lovely Carolina Sunday to talk about the outbreak and how to prevent others. He invited nursing faculty from the local community college and local healthcare providers. He invited members of two service organizations that he has been deeply involved in and were instrumental in shaping his response to the outbreak – the American Red Cross and Rotary International. The media was there to give a report to the larger community. Johnny proudly introduced all to two groups he is involved in that work diligently to prevent further outbreaks – HONOReform and the North Carolina One and Only Campaign.
The passion in the room was electric as the participants shared stories of tragedy due to unsafe injections. Everyone had a story to share or a question to ask.
The conversation turned to solutions. What can we do to prevent this tragedy from happening again? We talked about promoting the use of safety engineered injection devices that cannot be used more than once. We talked about the need for educating providers and empowering patients to talk to their providers about safe injection practices. And we talked about putting policies in place that shore up safe injection practices. As Dr Zack Moore of the North Carolina One and Only Campaign observed, “There is no one solution, we need to use all of these options.”
Johnny likes to quote Mark Twain: “There are basically two types of people. People who accomplish things, and people who claim to have accomplished things. The first group is less crowded.”
Many thanks to our new friends in North Carolina for their passionate support of injection safety. Together, we will help spare other patients, and other communities, from the devastation that occurs when basic injection safety rules are not followed.
We will continue to provide updates on our work in North Carolina. A special thanks to Johnny and Janet Robertson for hosting our fun gathering. And to everyone, for joining us.