Indiana – Working Together to Eliminate Health Care Acquired Infections

On Tuesday I spent the day with doctors, nurses and health care administrators from all around the state of Indiana. These health care providers had come to Indianapolis to attend a leadership conference put on by the Indiana State Department of Health.

The first ISDH leadership conference was in 2007. Seven hundred and twenty people came. This year, over 1,000 people participated. Preventing health care acquired infections was the focus of this meeting. It is a timely and important topic. Just last week, the Archives of Internal Medicine released a study showing that hospital acquired sepsis and pneumonia killed 48,000 people and cost $8.1 billion in extra health care costs in 2006. These are just two of the many hospital acquired infections that harm patients. The CDC estimates that there are 1.7 million health care acquired infections annually, and 99,000 patients die each year because of them.
This is a subject that means a great deal to me. A hospital acquired infection played a part in my daughter Josie’s death. This was a conference I needed to be a part of.
I have always enjoyed statewide collaborations on patient safety. It is exciting to follow the journey of a group of health care professionals from different facilities coming together, sharing information, helping each other achieve a goal that they all have in common. I had seen this happen in Michigan, Tennessee, and North Carolina. Now I hoped to be able to watch Indiana- a state I had been to three times in the past seven months (with two more visits scheduled in the next two months), a state where I was meeting hundreds of amazing health care providers, a state I was becoming very fond of- tackle this problem.
My job was to kick off the meeting. My goal was to inspire these health care facilities to join in this statewide collaboration. It would mean hard, hard work for those that signed up. It would mean reporting every single, ugly, little hospital infection that occurred- full, scary transparency. The ISDH had funding for some of the facilities to partake in this 18-month effort to reduce health care associated infections. I wanted them all to sign up, and I hoped that if that happened that somewhere, somehow the ISDH could dig up the extra funding.
I made the most of my 45 minutes speaking to the group. I hope I did a good job. I think I might have, but I won’t feel satisfied with what I did until I know that the collaboration is in full swing with a full load of facilities signed up and chomping at the bit to fix this problem.
Thank you, Indiana, for letting me be a part of such an important day. Keep up the good work. I’ll be rooting for you.
P.S.- The ISHD had copies of my book on hand during the lunch break. I enjoyed meeting so many wonderful people (mostly nurses) and I enjoyed having the honor of writing notes to them in the front pages of Josie’s Story. I am glad that there is a memory of Josie left behind in Indiana because I know her story will help push them the extra mile. Unfortunately the books sold out. To those who stood in line and did not receive a book, you can learn how to get a signed copy on our website. Thank you.
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“Josie’s Story” a National MS Society Books for a Better Life Winner

Last night, the National MS Society chose Sorrel’s book Josie’s Story as the winner in the “First Book” category of their Books for a Better Life Award. Many thanks to the New York City – Southern New York Chapter of the National MS Society for this honor. The recognition came on a particularly poignant day, as yesterday was the ninth anniversary of Josie’s death. Thanks again to the National MS Society, and everybody who has read and shared the book.

For more information on the Books for a Better Life Award and the National MS Society, visit their website.
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Sorrel’s Visit to Richmond, VA

Hello everybody-

On Tuesday, October 27, Sorrel is visiting her home town of Richmond, VA, for a book event:

St. Stephen’s Parish Hall
6000 Grove Avenue

6:30 pm – 8:00 pm

Sorrel will discuss her book Josie’s Story, and the medical errors that led to her daughter Josie’s death.

If you are interested in attending, please RSVP to



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At the Ivy Bookshop

Last week I had a book signing at the local Ivy Bookshop in my hometown of Baltimore. The Ivy- wedged between a Blockbuster and a men’s clothing store just a mile from my house- has been a part of my book journey from the very beginning.

I had fallen into a good routine with the writing- after dropping the children off at school I would sit down in front of my laptop and start to write. It took about four hours of writing before the silence would start to bother me and the loneliness would set in. It was then that I knew I needed to head to the Ivy. It felt good to be surrounded by the books that covered every possible inch of the little store. I would usually buy a book, but the real reason I was there was because of Bonnie, Shirley, Alice and Greg. Every time I walked into the store they would ask me how the book was coming and they would say, “One day we will have a book signing party for you.”
For a long time no one knew I was writing a book. But my friends at the Ivy did, and for two years they encouraged me and pushed me along. I never thought the day would come when my book would be lining the Ivy shelves, much less find a place in the front window, but it did. As Josie’s Story tiptoed into the world, the book events began to fill my calendar- with the Ivy event set for Sunday, September 13.
I wasn’t sure what would be worse: standing in front of 1,000 health care professionals- total strangers- or standing in front of the community in which I lived. What if no one showed up? What if they hated the book?
The Sunday afternoon was beautiful- not too hot. The sun had lowered itself behind the building just enough to provide the perfect amount of shade for the guests who sat outside in chairs that were lined up amphitheater-style. Tables of food surrounded the edges.
Dr. Peter Pronovost- a doctor from Hopkins who over the years had not only become a partner in my quest to improve patient safety, but had become my friend- introduced me to the guests. As I had seen so many times before, Peter captivated the audience with his brilliance, his charisma and his humility.
I had jotted down some notes on what I was going to say, but as I stood behind the podium I realized that I didn’t need my notes. These were my friends, my family. I’ve learned that sometimes- actually, always- it is best just to speak from the heart. It does not matter who is in the audience- whether it is a large group of nurses and doctors or a small group of family and friends. All that matters is the message. If you have a message that you are passionate about, it will just sort of find its way from your head, through your heart, and right on out into the world.
I signed books with Sam my seven-year-old by my side. Friends would ask him to sign his name next to mine. With a black Sharpie pen gripped tightly between his little fingers, he concentrated hard and signed his name in perfect Calvert script. It became a book signing not just for me, but for my entire family with Jack, Relly and Eva filling requests to sign their names alongside Sam’s. This was not just my journey. This was their journey, their story.
Thank you to Darielle Linehan and the Ivy Bookshop for getting so behind Josie’s Story. Not only did they put on a beautiful event, but they also agreed to donate a portion of their proceeds to the Josie King Foundation. The little Ivy Bookshop is truly a bookstore with a heart- a BIG heart- and a desire to make a difference in people’s lives.
Thank you to Peter Pronovost, whose work continues to transform health care for us all.
Most of all, thank you to my family and friends for coming out to support Josie’s Story.
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September 8th – Official Book Release of “Josie’s Story”

My book Josie’s Story has been in stores for a number of weeks, however today- September 8th- is the official publication date. It is now in stores nationwide- 20,000 hardback copies in Barnes and Nobles, Borders, and book stores in little towns and big cities all across America and Canada.

September 8th has been on my mind for many months. Will I regret having written the book? Will I regret having Josie’s story- my family’s story- out there for everyone to read? Did I do a good job? Will people like it? What if they hate it? I have decided that I cannot worry about those things anymore because they are now out of my hands. I will simply cross my fingers and hope that people will like the book and hope, hope, hope that the book will perhaps make a difference in someone’s life- a mother who has lost a child, a nurse who is finding a way to speaking up and prevent a medical error, a patient who is in the hospital bed and is not sure about the medication that is about to be administered.
It took me four years off and on to write the book. When I signed the book deal with Grove/Atlantic two years ago it was no longer off and on. I learned that deadlines are good things. It was a long, sometimes lonely, two years of writing with some ups and downs along the way. When my editor told me the whole thing needed to be restructured, I wasn’t sure how I would do it. But I trudged along, knowing that I had to do the work. I had to get to September 8th and I had to do a good job.
In a few days I will pack my bag and leave my family, whom I have never left for more than a day, for an entire week. This will be the beginning of a Fall book tour. I will travel to hospitals around the country and do my best to inspire doctors, nurses, pharmacists, risk managers, and CEOs, to continue their essential work on the patient safety front. At each event Josie’s Story will be available. I look forward to spending time with the many great health care providers I will be meeting.
I am ready for the second part of the book journey. I hope this part of the journey will further raise awareness about medical errors and patient safety, further inspire health care providers and further educate patients and their families. But most of all I hope people just like Josie’s Story.

I look forward to reporting in after my travels.
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From the Institute for Family-Centered Care Conference

Hi there-

In August, Sorrel had the opportunity to attend the Institute for Family-Centered Care‘s 4th International Conference in Philadelphia. The Institute for Family-Centered Care (IFCC) is a non-profit working with patient advocates and health care providers to improve care delivery. Sorrel was honored to deliver the closing plenary address. IFCC hosted two book signings in support of Josie’s Story. Sorrel loved meeting with the dedicated conference attendees, who are going back to hospitals all around the country and work to strengthen productive partnerships between families and health care providers. Thank you to everybody who stopped by the book table.

Here are two pictures from Philly:


Photo Credit: Institute for Family Centered Care


Photo Credit: Institute for Family Centered Care

Thanks to the entire IFCC’s team- with a special nod to Bev Johnson and Julie Ginn Moretz- for their hard work in creating a meaningful, successful conference!


P.S.- Come back next week for a special note from Sorrel.

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