|Emily-Ann and her Dad|
He'd spent the last days of his life in a hospital intensive care unit. He'd come in to the hospital for treatment of esophageal cancer. Emily and her mom were stunned when he died six weeks later of sepsis from multiple infections. He was 48.
Soon after, Emily ended up testifying for passage of a new patient safety law in Rhode Island. Otherwise jaded lawmakers squirmed uncomfortably, as an only child recounted her last memories of the most important man in her life:
"... there were also so many absolutely repulsive things that I witnessed while my father was in the hospital that not only caused the spread of these diseases, but should not have even occurred under any circumstance. For example, while fighting C-diff [infection], which resides in the colon, the hospital staff gave him an enema. When my mom later walked into the room there was human feces all over the floor, which no one bothered to clean up. My mom ended up cleaning the floor, which not only presented a threat to her and to other sick patients, but also to everyday visitors and staff..."
Emily was at the State House, testifying, at my urging. In fact, I'd lost my own father to complications of a C-diff infection two years before she lost her father. (Sadly, there are more of us than you might think.)
The law passed. Emily went on with her college life. But the more she read about hospital-acquired infection (HAIs), the more alarmed she became...both by the prevalence of the problem (99,000 people a year die from HAIs), and the fact that most people are clueless about the risk. She wanted to do something.
She contacted me again a few months ago. Could I help put her in touch with some people to interview for a film project on hospital-acquired infections?
Last month, the Providence College Film Festival screened a dozen student-produced films. I watched, alongside Emily, her mom and a family friend. The last video presented, "A Silent Epidemic", was shot, written, produced and edited by Emily-Ann Croke.
Emily's film won first place. The judges swarmed her afterward. This is important...people need to see it...you should enter it in other film festivals...
Here it is: a daughter's homage to her father, a heads-up for you, and a fine piece of video on its own. Watch, and then Tweet, re-post and share it...you can help Emily make a difference.