When you have a family member or loved one that needs medical care, and you do the research to find one the best doctors and one of the best hospitals to provide safe care, you expect that person will receive proper medical support.
What you don’t expect, is that they will kill your loved one.
But that’s what happened when college student Alex Smick injured his back when he fell off his skateboard and then was prescribed a succession of opioid painkillers.
As Alex’s mother, Tammy Smick shares, doctors were quick to hand out big pharma’s big profit opioid painkillers, causing Alex to have a dependence on them. As a grounded and responsible young man, Alex recognized what was happening and with his parent’s support, was proactive in seeking high quality, high priced, health care.
But as Tammy recounts, within hours of checking into the hospital, Alex was killed by health care.
The trauma from Alex’s unexpected death was deepened when Tammy found out the truth as to why her son died at the hands of doctors and nurses. The layers of trauma were further deepened when the doctor’s so-called punishment was secured through a closed door, backroom deal that left Alex’s family as powerless bystanders.
Tammy tells us how she and her husband Tim have responded to the tragedy and injustice and are making meaning in Alex’s memory. Tammy shares about their relentless journey through the medico-political-legal system in their efforts for justice, for truth, and for systemic change so that other families don’t suffer the same needless institutional horrors.
In the first part of the interview, you’ll hear Tammy’s neighbour in the background using a power tool to build an Ark or something, it’s kind of annoying, but it’s short lived, and fades away as Tammy recounts Alex’s last day.
Connect with Tammy Smick on twitter: @TammySmick
Be a podcast patron
Support Medical Error Interviews on Patreon by becoming a Patron for $2 / month for audio versions.
Premium Patrons get access to video versions of podcasts for $5 / month.
Be my Guest
I am always looking for guests to share their medical error experiences so we help bring awareness and make patients safer.
If you are a survivor, a victim’s surviving family member, a health care worker, advocate, researcher or policy maker and you would like to share your experiences, please send me an email with a brief description: RemediesPodcast@gmail.com
Need a Counsellor?
Like me, many of my clients at Remedies Counseling have experienced the often devastating effects of medical error.
If you need a counsellor for your experience with medical error, or living with a chronic illness(es), I offer online video counseling appointments.
**For my health and life balance, I limit my number of counseling clients.**
Email me to learn more or book an appointment: RemediesOnlineCounseling@gmail.com
Counsellor + Patient Advocate + (former) Triathlete
I am a counsellor, patient advocate, and - before I became sick and disabled - a passionate triathlete. Work hard. Train hard. Rest hard.
I have been living with HIV since 1998. I was the first person living with HIV to compete at the triathlon world championships.
Thanks to research and access to medications, HIV is not a problem in my life.
I have been living with ME (myalgic encephalomyelitis) since 2012, and thanks in part to medical error, it is a big problem in my life.
Counseling / Research
I first became aware of the ubiquitousness of medical error during a decade of community based research working with the HIV Prevention Lab at Ryerson University, where I co-authored two research papers on a counseling intervention for people living with HIV, here and here.
Patient participants would often report varying degrees of medical neglect, error and harms as part of their counseling sessions.
I am co-founder of the ME patient advocacy non-profit Millions Missing Canada, and on the Executive Committee of the Interdisciplinary Canadian Collaborative Myalgic Encephalomyelitis Research Network.
I am also a patient advisor for Health Quality Ontario’s Patient and Family Advisory Council, and member of Patients for Patient Safety Canada.
Medical Error Interviews podcast and vidcast emerged to give voice to victims, witnesses and participants in this hidden epidemic so we can create change toward a safer health care system.
My golden retriever Gladys is a constant source of love and joy. I hope to be well enough again one day to race triathlons again. Or even shovel the snow off the sidewalk.