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Josie's Story
Cover of Josie's Story
Josie's Story
A Mother's Inspiring Crusade to Make Medical Care Safe
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The "wrenching but inspiring" true story of a tragic medical mistake that turned a grieving mother into a national advocate (The Wall Street Journal).

Sorrel King was a young mother of four when her eighteen-month-old daughter was badly burned by a faulty water heater in the family's new home. Taken to the world-renowned Johns Hopkins Hospital, Josie made a remarkable recovery. But as she was preparing to leave, the hospital's system of communication broke down and Josie was given a fatal shot of methadone, sending her into cardiac arrest. Within forty-eight hours, the King family went from planning a homecoming to planning a funeral.

Dizzy with grief, falling into deep depression, and close to ending her marriage, Sorrel slowly pulled herself and her life back together. Accepting Hopkins' settlement, she and her husband established the Josie King Foundation. They began to implement basic programs in hospitals emphasizing communication between patients, family, and medical staff—programs like Family-Activated Rapid Response Teams, which are now in place in hospitals around the country. Today Sorrel and the work of the foundation have had a tremendous impact on health-care providers, making medical care safer for all of us, and earning Sorrel a well-deserved reputation as one of the leading voices in patient safety.

"I cried . . . I cheered" at this account of one woman's unlikely path from full-time mom to nationally renowned patient advocate (Ann Hood). "Part indictment, part celebration, part catharsis" Josie's Story is the startling, moving, and inspirational chronicle of how a mother—and her unforgettable daughter—are transforming the face of American medicine (Richmond Times-Dispatch).
The "wrenching but inspiring" true story of a tragic medical mistake that turned a grieving mother into a national advocate (The Wall Street Journal).

Sorrel King was a young mother of four when her eighteen-month-old daughter was badly burned by a faulty water heater in the family's new home. Taken to the world-renowned Johns Hopkins Hospital, Josie made a remarkable recovery. But as she was preparing to leave, the hospital's system of communication broke down and Josie was given a fatal shot of methadone, sending her into cardiac arrest. Within forty-eight hours, the King family went from planning a homecoming to planning a funeral.

Dizzy with grief, falling into deep depression, and close to ending her marriage, Sorrel slowly pulled herself and her life back together. Accepting Hopkins' settlement, she and her husband established the Josie King Foundation. They began to implement basic programs in hospitals emphasizing communication between patients, family, and medical staff—programs like Family-Activated Rapid Response Teams, which are now in place in hospitals around the country. Today Sorrel and the work of the foundation have had a tremendous impact on health-care providers, making medical care safer for all of us, and earning Sorrel a well-deserved reputation as one of the leading voices in patient safety.

"I cried . . . I cheered" at this account of one woman's unlikely path from full-time mom to nationally renowned patient advocate (Ann Hood). "Part indictment, part celebration, part catharsis" Josie's Story is the startling, moving, and inspirational chronicle of how a mother—and her unforgettable daughter—are transforming the face of American medicine (Richmond Times-Dispatch).
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  • Publisher's Weekly

    August 31, 2009
    In 2001, the six-member King family had just relocated to a new home in Baltimore when tragedy struck: 17-month-old Josie, wandering unsupervised, turned on a hot water tap and was badly scalded. Rushed to Johns Hopkins hospital, Josie spent 17 days in recovery and was scheduled to be released, but sudden cardiac arrest killed her before she made it out. The hospital admitted their mistake: improper hydration and a mistakenly administered dose of prescription painkiller methadone. Even more shocking, the Kings learned that theirs was not a unique tragedy; in the U.S., somewhere between 44,000 and 98,000 people die every year from medical errors. Using their $1.5 million settlement, the Kings founded an advocacy group, the Josie King Foundation, which, in partnership Johns Hopkins, spearheads a national drive for patient safety programs. This painful but inspiring memoir is a compelling drama of family grief amid the dysfunctional U.S. health care system, buttressed by a 20-page resource guide for patients, families and health-care providers.

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