Talia Goldenberg and her parents were unable to convince Talia’s doctors, nurses and support staff to take her difficulty breathing seriously. After a botched code, Talia was left in a permanent vegetative state. Ten days later she was removed from life support and allowed to die. Her parents Jeff Goldenberg, MD, and Naomi Kirtner, MA, founded Talia’s Voice: Projects for Patient Safety to change the culture in medicine so that nobody else’s child dies like theirs.
Response to Talia’s story, as told by Jeff and Naomi at the 29th Annual Flanigan Lecture last Thursday at the Jewish Community Center of Greater Kansas City, has been overwhelming in emotion.
Dr. Jeff Goldenberg and Naomi Kirtner’s willingness to share their painful memories and perspective as parents of Talia when she was involved in a medical error was astounding. Their observations should be mandatory learning for healthcare providers, administrators and risk management professionals.
After hearing this story, I thought, “Where was the ethical and moral judgment?” I wholeheartedly believe and value the great need and reason why the Center for Practical Bioethics exists.
As a father of a young daughter, Naomi and Jeff’s story was absolutely heart-wrenching and I will never forget it. I came away with a much greater understanding of the prevalence of medical error and how lack of communication and listening to the patient can result in the most tragic of outcomes. I also have a greater appreciation for how critical a strong culture is in medical settings, and how important it is for loved ones to be part of the team to ensure patient safety and drive positive outcomes.