Addressing the loss of trust in safety culture
On March 25, 2022, former Vanderbilt University Medical Center nurse RaDonda Vaught was found guilty of criminal negligent homicide and abuse of an impaired adult for her role in the death of 75-year-old patient Charlene Murphey. The trial – a rare example of a health professional facing prison for a medical error that happened as a result of many contributing systems factors – was closely watched by clinicians, hospital staff, and patient safety advocates.
Patients, families, and the public must be able to trust that organizations providing care, and the oversight organizations that protect the public, are doing their jobs and can be held accountable. In addition, those who provide care must be able to feel safe to speak up and report mistakes (as is their professional ethical responsibility) to guide improvements that reduce harm.
Members of the Institute for Healthcare Improvement Lucian Leape Institute, Julianne M. Morath, BSN, MS, CPPS, an advisor and leadership coach in quality and patient safety; Susan Sheridan, MIM, MBA, DHL, a founding member of Patients for Patient Safety; and Susan Edgman-Levitan, PA, Executive Director of the John D. Stoeckle Center for Primary Care Innovation at Massachusetts General Hospital, spoke about this loss of trust from various perspectives.