In 2000, then-9th grade student Lewis Blackman died at the hands of the medical personnel at MUSC – the Medical University of South Carolina. It didn’t have to happen. Lewis, a bright young man with many talents and incredible potential, died bleeding to death after a practically-routine surgery — a horrible medical error.
You, nor I, will ever EVER understand the heartbreak that kind of loss can cause to the loved ones of a child. Unless, of course, you too have lost a child to a medical mistake.
Fast forward seven years — seven years when the saying “time heals” has absolutely no meaning whatsoever to Lewis’s family –his parents, Helen Haskell and Bar Blackman or sister Eliza.
Tomorrow, March 14, 2007, the “Lewis Blackman Chair of Patient Safety” will be dedicated as a tribute to Lewis. It creates a position for a professor or practitioner to build new safety measures within the medical care system of South Carolina. Dr. John Schaefer of the University of Pittsburgh will be the first professor who works within this endowed position and he will create seven simulation training centers across the state for doctors-in-training.
Lewis will be there in spirit — no doubt about it. I imagine a lot of tears will be shed in his memory. But for every tear shed at tomorrow’s dedication, there will be fewer shed in the future as lives are saved. Future patients and their loved ones won’t have to suffer the way Lewis’s family did on that horrible day in 2000.
What an incredible legacy for this young man. South Carolinians will benefit for generations to come. Lewis did not die in vain.
To learn more about Lewis and the error that took his life: www.LewisBlackman.net