When tragedy hits a family, it can be difficult to recover, let alone to make something positive of the process. But, that’s exactly what one local family has done in the wake of their matriarch’s death. The Batz family has created a system to help prevent similar future tragedies from happening to other families.
According to WTHR.com, Louise Batz was admitted to a local hospital to have a routine knee replacement. She was 65-years-old and preparing to welcome her fourth grandchild into the world. But, one mistake destroyed that opportunity.
A medication error claimed Batz’ life. Against her family’s wishes, medical staff administered two high-powered narcotics and a sedative after surgery. It was this influx of medication that caused her to stop breathing. The medication was ultimately blamed for her death.
“We very quickly realized my mother had suffered a preventable medical error,” recounts her daughter Laura Batz-Townsend.
Just one day after her death, still reeling from the unexpected tragedy, her surviving family wrote the mission statement for a foundation they wanted to start in her honor. That same mission statement can be found on the website they created for the Louise H. Batz Patient Safety Foundation.
The goal of the Louise H. Batz Patient Safety Foundation is to open the pathways of communication between patients, doctors, nurses, and hospitals in an effort to enhance hospital safety and prevent adverse events.
To this end, the family has helped develop materials that can empower patients and prevent accidents like the one that took their mother.
They have created something known as The Batz Guide, which is now available on the iTunes App Store and can be downloaded directly from the foundation’s site. Within the virtual pages of this guide, patients and their families can learn about medical mistakes and their own role in the prevention of potential tragedies.
Five doctors in the family didn’t save the life of Mrs. Batz. “We asked a thousand questions. We didn’t get lucky and ask the right one,” said Batz-Townsend.
Though they asked the medical staff to only give their mother morphine for pain, she received the three-drug cocktail anyway and lost her life as a result.
“The evidence is indisputable that if you engage patients and family, outcomes are better,” remarked Dr. Ken Davis of Methodist Health System.
Patients must take an active role in their own care. But when a “mistake” is made, they must also have legal options at their disposal to hold the medical establishment accountable.