Focusing on biology and chemistry, Karla graduated from Tarleton State University in 1993. She received her medical degree from the University of North Texas Health Science Center – Fort Worth in 1997. Her Family Medicine Residency was conducted at the John Peter Smith Hospital in Fort Worth. Karla is Board Certified in Family Medicine and she practices at Family Healthcare Associates in Mansfield, Texas. Karla describes her personal introduction to medical errors: “I felt deep concern about the trauma caused by medical errors through the experience of my twin sister. She was treated at MD Anderson where they neglected to evaluate and document a large breast nodule for a year and a half. It turned out to be cancer. Afterward, the facility refused to acknowledge any mistake. I provided concrete suggestions to prevent such mistakes in the future.
They never responded to my suggestions. I began researching medical errors and decided I was going to do as much as I can the rest of my career to spread awareness of the prevalence of preventable medical error.
Medical errors are a public health crisis that the healthcare industry has not adequately addressed. We need more physician and consumer involvement to encourage change. I’m committed to doing whatever I can to improve patient safety.” Karla is an outdoors person. She’s hiked in Tanzania, Ethiopia, Scotland, Iceland, Turkey, and many other places. She also takes in foster dogs and helps to find them homes, including obedience training to help make dog adoptions stick.
A graduate of Boston University, Alan has extensive experience in the field of patient safety. Before retirement, he worked for the HHS Office of the Inspector General (OIG) Office of Evaluations and Inspections. He coordinated over 100 national studies of HHS programs including the management of patient safety grants, quality of care at community health centers, performance of state medical boards, minority access to organ transplantation, healthcare for Native Americans, healthcare provided by rural health clinics, etc. Alan chaired an OIG workgroup on medical errors identifying patient safety issues. Alan’s personal encounter with medical errors started when his mother died from an overdose of asthma medication at a Jacksonville hospital in December 1998. He asked the Medicare Quality Improvement Organization for Florida to review the care she received. When they refused, Alan enlisted the Public Citizen Litigation Group in a successful lawsuit. In addition to his work on Hospital Watchdog, Alan is also active in volunteer work for the Patient Safety
Action Network and Public Citizen’s Health Research Group. He said: “I do get a high degree of satisfaction from my patient safety work.”
Bob Aller has produced & directed documentaries on various subjects including autism, adverse medication reactions, scientific methodology, and prostate cancer. Having graduated from the UCLA film school, Bob later taught filmmaking at the USC School of Cinematic Arts and the Art Center College of Design. His films have received many awards including an Academy Award nomination. Bob created a website for prostate cancer patients that provided educational video interviews with patients and doctors. Bob’s encounter with hospital errors occurred with the death of his wife in 2016, resulting from overdoses of albuterol in the ER at a hospital. That’s how things got started.
Lars Aanning is a graduate of the University of Nebraska Medical School where he did his residency in surgery (1981). He was a general surgeon for nearly 30 years. Now, as a patient advocate, he comes to us from Yankton, South Dakota, (population 15,000). Yankton was the first capital of the Dakota Territory. By going through medical charts, Lars has helped harmed patients discover what went wrong – and he has helped families find out why their loved ones died. His hobbies are the history of medicine and WW II – and his grandchildren.
Emily Paterson has an MA in Communication Studies along with teaching experience in that field. Emily became a patient advocate following her own child’s preventable adverse event. She speaks to provider and patient groups, as well as families newly harmed by medical errors. On a state level, she is involved with groups concerned with healthcare accessibility. Emily was active with a group that voted in a nurses’ Union, not a small accomplishment in North Carolina. To improve patient safety, she looks forward to pulling back the curtain on more hospital problem issues that can be improved. Emily enjoys time with family, gardening, hiking, tennis, mountain biking, traveling, and loves cats.
Brian Eisen in an attorney dealing with health care issues, practicing in Cleveland, Ohio. Mr. Eisen graduated magna cum laude and Phi Beta Kappa from Harvard College in 1988, where he majored in neurobiology. He earned his law degree from Harvard Law School in 1992, graduating cum laude. Prior to starting a law practice, Mr. Eisen spent a year as a law clerk for the United States Court of Appeals for the 9th Circuit, and then spent three years as a trial attorney for the United States Department of Justice. While at Justice, he went after the tobacco companies and forced them to remove their billboards from professional sports arenas and stadiums across the country, where they were unlawfully and strategically placed to appear on television. Since 1996, Mr. Eisen has focused his practice on cases of medical negligence and wrongful death. Mr. Eisen has an extensive track record of success in litigation, trial, and appellate work. Mr. Eisen lectures frequently on topics relating to medical negligence and trial work. While Mr. Eisen is active with patient safety organizations and is a zealous patient safety advocate, he spends most of his time fighting for individual patients after they have become victims of medical error. As part of his commitment to patient safety, Mr. Eisen actively looks for opportunities to include in his clients’ settlements changes to hospital procedures, and protocols, changes that will benefit future patients. Although he makes a living representing victims of medical negligence, Mr. Eisen looks forward to the day that preventable medical errors are so rare that he and other malpractice attorneys – like the Maytag repairman – have nothing to do all day.
Robert E. Oshel, Ph.D., is an expert in medical malpractice and medical discipline. Before retirement, he was Associate Director for Research and Disputes at the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services’ National Practitioner Data Bank. He was responsible for statistical analysis of the Data Bank’s report information on malpractice payments and licensure, clinical privileges, and other disciplinary actions. He established the Data Bank’s Public Use data file. Robert is active in various patient safety efforts: advising Public Citizen and Consumers Union (Consumer Reports). He frequently consults with newspapers and broadcast outlets concerning stories on medical malpractice and medical discipline issues. He is the author/co-author of many journal articles and a book chapter on these issues.
Suzan Addison Shinazy, RN, has been a tireless advocate for patient safety since her mother died of medical errors in 2003. Suzan experienced medical harm herself during surgery in 2012, resulting in a long-term disabling condition. Despite the many daily challenges her condition presents, Suzan created and passionately nurtures a grassroots Facebook page to confront medical harm. In 2015 she founded Medical Error Transparency Plan. The group is a welcoming place to share unique personal experiences and frank viewpoints for about 1,500 men and women who experienced serious harm in the health care system. For over a decade Suzan worked on medical harm issues with the Consumers Union Safe Patient Project. She is a Board member of Health Watch USA and credits both organizations for mentoring her on the critical need for safer patient care. Suzan, also known to rescue stray pets, makes her home in Bakersfield, California.
Lyn Trott RN, BSN, nicknamed Honey Badger for her deep-diving investigative skills during her 3 years as a Senior Investigator with the Texas Medical Board (TMB), assists Hospital Watchdog in reviewing cases. She is a real healthcare sleuth. In Lyn’s 40 years of experience as an RN, she was Quality Patient Safety Manager/Regulatory Activity Coordinator for several years prior to working for TMB, managed nursing education for Dell Children’s Medical Center, and Children’s Hospital of Austin. Lyn’s clinical experience is in pediatric hematology-oncology. Lyn is renovating one of the nicest historic homes in Texas and is a devoted gardener and photographer of the birds and critters that visit her yard.