Jacobi, NBCH, name first Lorraine Tredge Award recipient

William Walsh (second from left), senior vice president of NBHN; award winner Arnold Merriam M.D. of Jacobi Medical Center, and Lorraine Tredge (right) celebrate the presentation of the first annual Lorraine Tredge Award for Patient Safety.

Patient safety is a concern for both the patients themselves and their caretakers, and both Jacobi Medical Center and North Central Bronx Hospital are doing everything possible to make the phrase “to err is human…” seldom spoken.

Both to promote patient safety and honor a woman who has devoted her life to the well being of others, the North Bronx Healthcare Network, of which Jacobi and NCBH are members, held the Lorraine Tredge Patient Safety Leadership Conference on Wednesday, June 4, at Jacobi.  

The all day conference allowed hospital leaders an opportunity to make sure their staff does everything to ensure that medical errors are kept to an absolute minimum by identifying areas the hospital can improve.

“We know that errors occur in hospitals. What we have done here is to have each department do two risk reduction processes a year, targeting areas for improvement, in order to find any weak links,” said William Walsh, senior VP of NBHN.

When speaking of the winners of this year’s Lorraine Tredge Award, honoring those who strive to make hospitals safer, Walsh pointed out two such risk reduction processes that made Jacobi’s behavioral management programs less prone to error.

“Violence reduction and suicide prevention are two such targets [for greater safety],” Walsh stated, noting that the winners, Arnold Merriam M.D. and his staff, were instrumental in these efforts.  “Once we pick the right targets, the hospital will be safer,” Walsh continued.

Lorraine Tredge presented the award to Dr. Merriam, of Jacobi Hospital.  Tredge has been an advocate of hospital safety for over 50 years, both as a polio patient at the age of 17, and later as the president of Calvary Hospital and senior executive with the NYC Health and Hospitals Corporation.

“You want to create an atmosphere of safety in a hospital, not just for the patients, but also for the staff,” Tredge explained. “That is what I have done all of my life. It is great to come back here and be honored in this way, and reconnect with colleagues and friends.”

Tredge redesigned Calvary Hospital and Hospice, rebuilding it in 1975. Calvary stands today as a testament to her belief in-patient and family centered care, and remains widely emulated as the model for the relief of cancer pain and symptoms.

“I wanted to bring in life and light [when I redesigned Calvary],” Tredge stated. “I put big windows in every room, and daffodils on the terraces.”

Tredge noted that it felt overwhelming to have an award named after her. The recipient was glad to follow in Tredge’s footsteps.

“I am happy to accept the award on behalf of our department,” said Merriam. “We are lucky to have such a dedicated staff in our Behavioral Health Services to work with this very deserving population.”

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