Ten years ago, after some careful questions from Isabelle (Greg’s Mother) and I, Greg told us about the potential diagnosis of Testicular Cancer.  Previously we had thought it was a muscle injury in his back.  We didn’t not know how little time we were going to have with him.  We tried to be as helpful and supportive as we could be, until more gaps in his care took us away from each other.

Greg was a sensitive, respectful, and optimistic person who was always supportive of the people around him.  He had great plans, always thinking about how things could be made better.

Following Greg’s sudden and premature death, we all felt a tremendous sense of loss.  We have each traveled our individual grieving journey since then.  For me, there were a few, very powerful emotions and a huge, energy sapping hole in my chest.  The hole remains today but it has shrunk some and is less pervasive although not a day goes by that we don’t think about him and what he would be doing today. 

It took years before it felt ok to laugh or feel joy, even though our extended family was tremendous through this hard time.  Our family’s journey has been to try and improve the situation in the health sector so that the gaps Greg fell through would be closed for future patients.  Through this, we have met many wonderful people including those that have been working on the same cause long before we joined this effort.  Some have become dear friends and allies.

In the early years, we asked lots of questions and tried to learn as much as we could about what had happened to Greg.  We learned then and are still finding now, that almost all the cracks that Greg fell through remain in the health sector today.  Good people and their strong efforts to improve continue to be stymied by a defensiveness and resistance to change driven by a political culture of command and control.

The most shocking early revelation though, is the fact that the safety of patients and providers is not the top priority in the health sector.  This is very sad for we know that there are continuing to be many more families grieving their loss.  It also means that some of the best care givers are also leaving our health care, after attempting to shoulder an impossible burden to do the right thing with patients and families despite the terrible structure and processes in the health treatment sector.

Greg always looked to the future, and he kept in his “book of everything” quotes to live by.  I have chosen two which I think are quite telling about the person he tried to be.

“A century from now it will not matter what kind of car I drove, what kind of house I lived in, or how much money I had in the bank… But one hundred years from now the world may be a better place because I was important in the life of a child.”

Forest Witcraft

“My best friend is the one that brings out the best in me.”

Henry Ford

At Greg’s memorial, almost 10 years ago now, people who knew Greg spoke of how he made the teams better that he was a part of, and how as individuals, he made them feel special.

We continue to work to honour him and his legacy by trying to be part of a growing and increasingly powerful team working for positive and critically important change toward safe care of patients, their families and loved ones, and of those who also work with them on their care team.   

We hope that you will join in the effort to:

  • Put safety first
  • Learn from experiences – positive and not
  • Work together to toward a new health care world built on the foundation of collaboration and partnerships of teamwork throughout whole person health care

– Dave Price

10 years ago…

9 thoughts on “10 years ago…

  • May 20, 2022 at 5:42 am
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    Thank you Dave for your tireless commitment to change. As we look back 10 years and stand with you as you remember Greg, we know that you are making a difference in your effort to keep others from ‘falling through the cracks.’ Those of us who are also trying to contribute to changing the outcome for so many recognize that we must all stand together. Ten years from now, my hope and my prayer is that ‘we’ have become so many more. Ten years from now I hope and I pray that the health system will be architected by a coalition of dreamers who, like you who recognized what needed to be done, stepped up, and changed the world. The world should never under estimate the power of a dreamer.

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  • May 19, 2022 at 3:19 pm
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    Your committment to honour Greg’s passing by focusing on improving the system is inspirational. Most people that have been wronged would point fingers, lay blame, and do their level best to destroy the system that destroyed their family. I’ll admit, Dave, that is how i felt after I read the report and saw the movie about Greg. I’ve never seen you or Teri take a destructive approach to the health system and I’ve learned from that. Your desire to work to better the health system so that others will not suffer the same fate as Greg is truly filled with love and honour of the man that [I’ve heard] Greg was. Amazing and thank you.

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  • May 16, 2022 at 7:07 pm
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    Wow! Ten long years. The efforts of Greg’s family are truly humbling. Their commitment to teamwork and respect is awe inspiring . The realization that not much has changed is deeply upsetting. How do we take definitive steps toward ‘whole person care’? Establishing safety as goal one and understanding what that means from those very ‘whole people’ (and not just as defined by others) might be one place to start. Embracing ‘whole people’ as essential members of a care team another?

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  • May 16, 2022 at 7:06 pm
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    Wow! Ten long years. The efforts of Greg’s family are truly humbling. Their commitment to teamwork and respect is awe inspiring . The realization that not much has changed is deeply upsetting. How do we take definitive steps toward ‘whole person care’? Establishing safety as goal one and understanding what that means from those very ‘whole people’ (and not just as defined by others) might be one place to start. Embracing ‘whole people’ as essential members of a care team another?

    Reply
  • May 16, 2022 at 1:47 pm
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    Hello – I just watched Greg’s Wings on May 12 and I am so sorry that your family and Greg had to deal with what you did. I am a Registered Nurse and have been for 43 years – recently retired from my part time position, but I am still involved in local healthcare delivery. Though I know the healthcare system , very well, both here in Canada and in the United States, I have always been amazed at how individuals manage to navigate it for best outcome. What you are doing, goes a long way to bring awareness to the practitioners of our system, ownership and responsibility to our clients. I do believe in our healthcare system, but it has a lot of room for improvement. I would be willing to become involved as needed.

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  • May 16, 2022 at 6:43 am
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    When I first read Greg’s Story, I was overcome with the similarities of what happened to my husband in his health issue that lead to his relatively quick passing just over 4 years ago. Having spent so much time in hospital, it was glaringly evident that there are many “holes” in the health care system. In a short one or 2 day hospital stay, one is not aware of most problems. However a week, or longer in a hospital one will quickly see and unfortunately experience the (what we called) craziness of the system. Uncaring nurses, time and apparent money driven shortcuts, almost no dietary support, obvious higher management problems, and on it went. My sister was an RN many years ago, and she was and still is, horrified at how patient care has diminished from what it was originally taught and carried out a number of years ago. I have not minced my concern over the many issues we encountered during my husbands treatment and illness. But unless you are “in it”, most don’t understand the problems. And it seemed to us to be fighting a losing battle to get any improvement. I hope Greg’s Story will continue to keep up the gauntlet to try to make a badly needed change. Thank you for continuing this quest!

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  • May 16, 2022 at 5:30 am
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    Greg’s story is a warning for all of us that nothing can be taken for granted in our healthcare system. Individuals in the system may well be doing the best job they can at the point of care, but co-ordination of that care towards a successful outcome remains the responsibility of the patient themselves, or their advocate. The fact that, according to Dave Price, nothing has really changed in the last 10 years to improve that situation is disheartening, but perhaps not surprising. Following the mantra that “What gets measured gets done” we cannot expect meaningful change until incentives for those within the health system, and the funding that fuels it, are aligned with “doing the right thing” for patients like Greg.

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  • May 15, 2022 at 8:30 pm
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    Are you part of the dialogue defining patient safety at health care excellence Canada? (HEC is the recently amalgamated Canadian Patient Safety Institute and the Canadian Institute for Healthcare Improvement CIHI)? As they update the definition of Patient Safety it would be a perfect time to connect.

    Reply
  • May 15, 2022 at 7:39 pm
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    United care teams ❤️

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