After medical error, former Microsoft designer works with hospital to find where things went wrong

August de los Reyes, a former top designer with Microsoft, was paralyzed while receiving care at Overlake Hospital Medical Center in Bellevue, Wash., in 2013. Now, Mr. de los Reyes and Overlake are conducting a case study to identify the errors that contributed to his becoming a paraplegic, according to a CNBC report.

Mr. de los Reyes has anklylosing spondylitis, an autoimmune disorder that makes his spine very brittle and susceptible to fracture from even minor trauma. On May 11, 2013, Mr. de los Reyes fell off his bed and went to Overlake Hospital, fearing a back fracture. Despite telling all the clinicians he met about his condition and concerns, few care providers heeded Mr. de los Reyes' warnings and he was sent home after an imaging scan.

On May 25, 2013, Mr. de los Reyes returned to Overlake in excruciating pain. According to a lawsuit the patient filed against the hospital in 2014, clinicians broke Mr. de los Reyes' back while positioning him for an MRI scan, leaving him paralyzed. Overlake settled Mr. de los Reyes' lawsuit, agreeing to pay him $20 million.

According to CNBC, Overlake has recently agreed to work with Mr. de los Reyes on a case study to examine what led to his injury.

"It would be a mistake to treat this as an isolated incident limited to a single provider," Mr. de los Reyes told CNBC. "Let's take all of the lessons we've learned and use them to make hospitals everywhere safer for patients."

Robert Gellatly, Mr. de los Reyes' lawyer, told CNBC he is unaware of a single malpractice litigation case in which the hospital's leaders agreed to collaborate with an injured patient after a settlement to investigate the cause of the incident and possibly propose reforms to hospital protocols to avoid similar errors.

"Activating de los Reyes' direct perspective as a patient and as an expert on systems design and design processes will help Overlake with innovative ways to achieve even greater heights with safety and quality," Overlake CEO J. Michael Marsh said, according to a prepared statement. "I look forward to learning from and working with him."



More articles on medical errors:
Does the US technology gap push med errors into the 3rd leading cause of death?
20% of hospitals don't have a policy to handle 'never events'
Preventable medical errors are on the decline — 4 possible reasons why

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