Book Reviews

Recognition and Reviews for Josie’s Story
*Nominated for the National Multiple Sclerosis Society’s “Books for a Better Life” awards.
*Named one of the top health books in 2009 by the Wall Street Journal.
“Many of you may have already read Josie’s Story. Sorrel King sent me a copy a few months back, and it has sat patiently on my bookshelf, waiting for me to discover the beauty that lay inside. I think I waited to read it because my heart has been filled with Lewis’ story, and Michael’s story and Alyssa’s story…young people I never knew, but who have influenced my professional journey in ways I could have never imagined when planning a course of study or career path.” Read More
-Tracy Granzyk 
“Reading Josie’s Story, I cried at Sorrel King’s unflinching descriptions of grief and the anguish that comes with losing a child. But when she takes the medical error that killed her daughter Josie and turns her tragedy into a crusade to help avoid such errors from taking someone else’s child, I cheered. For the Kings, for Josie, for all of us. Everyone should read this book, not just for what it shows us about the human spirit, but because we all need to hear Josie’s story and be better people for having heard it.”
-Ann Hood
Author of The Knitting Circle
A wonderful book, written with deep insight into the uncertain world of medicine. The tale of this family grips the heart and illuminates the mind.”
-Dr. Jerome Groopman
Professor of Medicine at Harvard Medical School; contributor to The New Yorker; and author of How Doctors Think
“A riveting and poignant account of the impact of preventable harm in our health care system.”
-Rosemary Gibson
Author of Wall of Silence; Senior Program Officer at the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation
“Sorrel King is a heroic figure in the health-care movement. Josie’s story and Sorrel’s determination are making care safer for millions of patients. At its core, this is a powerful and immensely moving love story.”
-Charles Kenney
Author of The Best Practice: How the New Quality Movement is Transforming Medicine; Quality and Safety Consultant to Blue Cross Blue Shield of Massachusetts
“Sorrel King took the tragic death of her daughter and used it to transform the culture of the nation’s top hospital- and ultimately the entire world of medicine.”
-Dr. Robert Wachter
Professor of Medicine at the University of California, San Francisco

“I am confident that Sorrel has saved countless lives by sharing her story and challenging physicians and administrators to critically examine how they provide care. She made a difference for our Children’s Hospital and we are forever grateful.”
-Craig Cordola
CEO of Children’s Memorial Hermann Hospital of Houston

“Josie’s story has served as a beacon for me and thousands of other health-care professionals.”
-Dr. Louise Liang
Former Senior Vice President, Quality and Clinical Systems Support, Kaiser Permanente

“Sorrel’s story…teaches us that listening is as important as doing, reminding us that our learning is a journey and that our true teachers sit in front of us in hospital beds and on exam tables each day.”
-Dr. David Shulkin
President and CEO, Beth Israel Medical Center

Starred Review
“King is an extraordinary woman, who took a paralyzing event- the medical accident that killed her 18-month-old daughter, Josie- and turned it into a national crusade. She transformed herself from having every intention of taking down the mega-hospital, Baltimore’s Johns Hopkins, where, by every estimation, little Josie should have received top-notch care, to working with the facilities doctors, nurses, administrators, and even their lawyers to create a system that would eliminate medical errors. It wasn’t easy. After she had watched helplessly, with doctors ignoring her pleas for help, while Josie deteriorated before her eyes, her grief and rage were nearly all-consuming. The family hired a lawyer but Hopkins offered a settlement before a lawsuit was filed. But sometime between the investigation and the settlement, she had an epiphany. Wherever such revelations originate, it made her resolved to use the settlement money to create the Josie King Foundation, dedicated to the elimination of the nearly 100,000 deaths per annum caused by medical mistakes. In this moving, never preachy or strident memoir, she recounts Josie’s experience, the evolution of the foundation, and the principals of the so-called Comprehensive Unit-Based Safety Program (CUSP) in practice today in hundreds of hospitals, thanks to Josie and her mom.”
-Donna Chavez

“A toddler’s needless death in a hospital transforms her mother into an activist against medical errors. King’s slender, often wrenching memoir recounts not one but two parental nightmares- a child’s unnecessary injury and her premature death. Josie was just 18 months old when she scalded herself in the bathtub of her family’s Baltimore home, the victim of a faulty temperature panel. Frightening as her injuries were, she was recovering from them nicely at Johns Hopkins, one of the country’s finest hospitals. Then the staff wrongly administered a drug that killed her. Her grieving parents learned that 98,000 Americans die from such medical mistakes each year. With the settlement money from Hopkins, her mother co-founded the Josie King Foundation to reduce that mortality rate by encouraging hospitals to adopt patient-safety programs. In unadorned prose, the narrative delineates the author’s evolution from despair-stricken parent to enraged avenger determined to destroy Hopkins to the public activist seeking to extract some good from her child’s death. King excels in capturing small moments freighted with poignancy: her older children refusing to kiss their unconscious sister goodbye before her life support was turned off, her memories of Josie spilling juice (“I would lean over and wipe it up, never realizing how lucky I was”). The author includes a resource guide for patients, their families and health-care professionals. Eschewing literary stylishness, King tells her story with a straightforward style that makes it all the more powerful.”
-Kirkus Reviews