On November 18, 1999, Linda Kenney arrived at the hospital for a scheduled ankle replacement surgery. Linda was a wife, mother of three teenagers and a restaurant owner. She was also no stranger to the health care system having relied on medical services since being born with medical needs. This was to be a routine surgery.
No one could have predicted the event that took place that day that nearly took Linda’s life.
The trauma of the experience led Linda on a path to recovery along with Dr. Rick van Pelt, the assigned anesthesiologist to her case. Together they struggled to change the system that had failed them.
In June of 2002, MITSS was incorporated in Massachusetts. With their commitment and the power of their collaboration, Linda and Rick resolved to work with medical systems to create an environment of hope and healing while also working with individuals who had suffered trauma.
To support their work the first MITSS Annual Dinner and Fundraiser was held in November 2004. Dr. van Pelt was the only representative of the medical community in attendance.
In the Fall of 2003 Brigham and Women’s Hospital donated space for the first patient and family educational support group held in Chestnut Hill, Massachusetts. These groups remain the mainstay of support to patients and families and BWH continues to help sustain MITSS though their patronage.
A seminole moment came in May 2004 when Linda and Rick presented at the National Patient Safety Foundation Annual Congress in Boston, Massachusetts. The presentation was well received by the national medical community, putting MITSS on the map. The MITSS story became much sought after for local, national, and international forums. The story was also picked up by national media including The Wall Street Journal, Good Housekeeping and Oprah Magazine.
It was remarkable to have a doctor and a patient speaking out, united, in the effort to bring awareness about medical trauma and the effects on everyone involved.
Interest grew in the medical community where MITSS was known for being a collaborator rather then an adversary. Programs for nurses and doctors were developed in addition to the support programs for patients and families.
Now a leader in the patient safety community, in 2009, MITSS created the HOPE Award to recognize the extraordinary work of people contributing to progress in the field. The HOPE Award is presented at the MITSS Annual Dinner and Fundraiser. This annual event now attracts leaders from throughout the medical arena, patients, families, friends and supporters from across the nation.
In March of 2009 MITSS partnered with the Massachusetts Medical Society, CRICO/RMF, and ProMutual Group, to host a groundbreaking program; Disclosure and Apology – What’s Missing? Advancing Programs that Support Clinicians; that was later chronicled in a white paper.
Close collaboration with the medical community has attracted more clinicians to the work of MITSS and prompted support nationwide. As board members, program faculty, donors and clients, the medical community has helped bring awareness and sustainability to the vital work of bringing healing and hope to victims of medically induced trauma.
Over the past 16 years, MITSS has been honored as a recipient of some of the most prestigious awards in the field of health care safety including the NPSF Socius Award and the Bank of America Local Heroes Award.
Today, at MITSS we celebrate the partnerships and collaborations we have built and reaffirm our commitment to creating compassionate healthcare systems focused on the well being of patients, families and health care providers.