By my count, membership in the fledgling Patient Harm Community is growing by about 100 a day as word gets out.
In recent days, for example, postings included these issues:
- A nurse in Phoenix claimed she was fired by her hospital, and now faces nursing board charges, for informing a patient about risks of upcoming surgery and the benefits of hospice.
- An infection prevention nurse in California, formerly a hospital inspector with the state Department of Public Health, told of undergoing a spinal disc procedure with a flawed protein material she was never informed about by her surgeon, resulting in multiple subsequent surgeries.
- A warning from an employee at the federal Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality for patients to not take antibiotics and proton pump inhibitors (like Prilosec or Prevacid) at the same time because of links to clostridium difficile infections.
Allen says ProPublica's social media experts looked around the country to find a similar online forum but without success.
This isn't like Yelp or Angie's List, where unhappy patients can anonymously pile on about a rude receptionist. "These are peoples' real identities, as far as we can tell, so if they say something to the group, their name is behind it. There's a little bit more accountability," Allen says.