JoPM Article - Lessons learned from my metastatic breast cancer missed diagnosis

Samuel, Rana Rana.Samuel at VA.GOV
Thu May 2 13:06:58 UTC 2013

Karen - thank you so much for speaking up and for turning your suffering into a force for positive change. I am a physician and also a breast cancer survivor.  My cancer was not missed - it was picked up during my annual mammogram, but so many medical mistakes were made during my treatment at the academic medical center where I worked earlier, despite my being a member of the breast cancer care team at that institution, and the fact that all the doctors treating me were friends and colleagues.

The VA is the only healthcare system I have ever worked in that has a policy of disclosure for any and all mistakes, and that holds hospital leadership (not just individual doctors) accountable for a culture of transparency and patient empowerment. We still have a long way to go in making sure that every person whose actions impact patient care understands how critically important it is to be detail oriented and to communicate consistently, and to ensure that our medical care systems empower patients to actively participate in their own care, but I want to thank you for inspiring me and giving me renewed energy to continue this important mission.

I do not think that we can ever completely eliminate all mistakes, as long as human beings are involved in the process, but I agree completely with you that we need to communicate discovery of mistakes promptly and compassionately, provide equitable compensation to the patient without the need for a lawsuit and most importantly, study all the factors that contributed to the mistake and engineer our systems and our processes to prevent it from happening again.

Thank you again, and stay strong.
Best regards,

Cell: 716-803-5121

From: Karen Holliman [mailto:karen.holliman at FACULTY-CONNECTION.COM]
Sent: Wednesday, May 01, 2013 8:57 PM
Subject: JoPM Article - Lessons learned from my metastatic breast cancer missed diagnosis

Dear all.  Below is a link to my recent article in the Journal of Participatory Medicine ( regarding my missed diagnosis and what I learned I can do as a patient.
Please feel free to share anywhere with anyone if you find this useful.  Thank you.  Karen

Karen Holliman
Faculty Connection, Executive Director
Ph 919 490-8857
Cell 919 656-0055<>



To unsubscribe from IMPROVEDX: click the following link:

Visit the searchable archives or adjust your subscription at:

Moderator: Lorri Zipperer Lorri at<mailto:Lorri at>, Communication co-chair, Society for Improving Diagnosis in Medicine

To learn more about SIDM visit:

Save the date: Diagnostic Error in Medicine 2013. September 22-25, 2013 in Chicago, IL.

HTML Version:
URL: <../attachments/20130502/bb321ba6/attachment.html>

More information about the Test mailing list