Reflections of a patient safety officer
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About 5 years ago, a friend of mine called me into his office. I knew already that he was planning to leave our institution to become dean at another medical school. We had collaborated on a number of projects, including teaching MBA classes together at a local university, so I was very sorry to see him go. As I sat in his office, he told me that he had wrapped up all of his loose ends in advance of leaving town except one. He needed someone to assume his responsibility as the patient safety officer (PSO) for Texas Children’s Hospital (TCH).
“Oh,” I said. “That’s interesting.” And then I thought we would move on to other topics of conversation.
“‘Interesting’ is exactly what I hoped you would say,” he replied. He proceeded to tell me the PSO job responsibilities, as he knew them. He focused on the fact that it was a joint commission requirement to have a safety program in place, and the program had to have designated leadership. His sales pitch ended with, “Don’t worry, the job doesn’t...