Pembroke story featured in book on medical errors
After John McCormack’s 13-month-old daughter died in 2000 after doctors delayed emergency surgery, the Pembroke resident became an advocate for patient safety.
This week, nearly eight years after her death, Taylor McCormack’s story is in a new book on medical errors, “Fatal Care: Survive in the U.S. Health System.” The book, by Dr. Sanjaya Kumar, is being released this week.
Taylor’s story is one of 11 cases of preventable medical errors and hospital-borne infections told in the book. The book also contains safety tips and potential solutions.
“This book is very important,” McCormack said Monday. “I think it’s really going to make a difference. It’s true stories; it’s not fabrication. We’re all doing it for the right reasons because we don’t want another American family to suffer.”
Each year, preventable medical errors result in as many as 98,000 patient deaths in U.S. hospitals, according to the book’s Web site. Dr. Kumar said he wrote the book to get beyond those numbers to tell the stories of how medical errors affect people.
He chose stories from across the country that would touch readers. All are about preventable medical errors or hospital-acquired infections. Each chapter ends with guidance for readers, he said.
“Really, the idea was not to highlight as much the medical statistic,” said Kumar, president, CEO and chief medical officer of the health care company Quantros Inc. “My idea was to basically take the stories and gripping dramatic detail and dramatize them for people.”
McCormack’s daughter Taylor died after doctors at Children’s Hospital in Boston postponed surgery to relieve pressure on her brain.
Her family filed a civil suit against three of her physicians in Suffolk Superior Court in 2001. The case was settled without a trial about two years ago.
After McCormack and his wife, Catherine, were barred from disciplinary hearings for their daughter’s doctors at the state Board of Registration in Medicine, they waged a successful campaign for Taylor’s Law.
The law, which was signed in 2004, gives patients and their families the right to be present with an attorney and confront doctors at such hearings.
“Taylor’s story is a very heartbreaking one and definitely one that has greatly impacted that family,” Dr. Kumar said. “John McCormack has turned into a single-man crusader, almost like a trooper for patient safety.”
Sydney Schwartz may be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.