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PULSE OF NY

New Play and Patient Safety Discussions Focus On Medical Error

New play, "Lady from Limerick," dealing with tragic medical error, debuts in New York, with discussions among patient safety experts, and those affected by medical errors.

Just days after the end of open enrollment saw seven million Americans enroll for the Affordable Care Act, healthcare experts, care providers, and survivors of medical error will gather at the debut of a new play based on a healthcare tragedy.

PULSE of NY, a patient advocacy group, in conjunction with the Theater for the New City, is presenting the drama, Lady From Limerick and discussions, April 10-20 at the Theater for the New City.

Health care advocates, providers and survivors of medical error say this show, which is based on a true story, presents the human face of statistics regarding medical error.

Before the opening of the play, at 6 p.m., April 10, experts, advocates, survivors of medical error and their family members will discuss issues related to medical error in a press conference at the Theater for the New City. Other discussions will follow various later performances.

Dr. William Liss-Levinson will facilitate a post-performance discussion with the audience on April 10th. Liss-Levinson Ph.D., is Vice President, and Chief Strategy & Operations Officer for Castle Connolly Medical Ltd., a healthcare research and information company which publishes America's Top Doctors®, Top Doctors: New York Metro Area and other print and online guides to help consumers find the very best physicians.

"Dr. Liss-Levinson brings an important perspective to patient involvement for the best outcomes in care," said Ilene Corina, who founded PULSE of NY following the death of her child from what was considered routine surgery. "He brings an important and necessary perspective to the discussion."

At a time when health insurance is the talk of the nation, "Lady From Limerick," based on the story of Kathleen Cregan who traveled from Ireland to New York for plastic surgery, focuses on a patient's tragedy.

Cregan died as a result of the surgery performed by a doctor who, unbeknownst to her, had a long record of litigation. She was removed from life support on St. Patrick's Day, 2005.

"The play gives a patient a voice," Corina said. "It's a voice from the grave, but it still gives a voice. We have to remember that the patient needs to be at the center of the discussion. This brings us back to the importance of healthcare. It's about the patient."

The Institute for Healthcare Improvement estimates there are 440,000 incidents of medical harm each year.

Playwright Claude Solnik says, "I couldn't forget what happened and I realized that most people would focus on other news after they finished reading that article," he said. "I wrote a play inspired by the story to prevent her tragedy from being forgotten."

Corina's group will launch a campaign called "One is a Number" at the press conference. The campaign seeks to stamp out medical error as much as possible. ""Every patient counts," she says. "Every patient's important."

Lady From Limerick is being performed Thurs.- Sat. April 10-12 and 17-19 at 8 p.m., and Sun. April 13 and 20 at 3 p.m. at Theater for the New City, 155 First Ave. between 9th and 10th Sts.

Tickets are $15, $10 for students and seniors. Purchase at: http://www.theaterforthenewcity.net/limerick.htm, by simply going to the Theater for the New City website, or by calling Theater for the New City at (212) 254-1109.