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May 06

Hospital Safety

Posted by Bruce Robinson in toxic , speaker , public safety , Petaluma , nonprofit orgs , medicine , healthcare , Health , families , drugs , corporate responsibiliyt , children , author , activism

Bruce Robinson

Even in the controlled environment of a hospital, human error is always a danger, too often a fatal one. That’s what Sorrel King is fighting to reduce.

As the mother of four young children, Sorell King was involved in every step of her daugther’s care when 18-month old  Josie was badly burned by a faulty water heater. Even that wasn’t enough to prevent the breakdown in communications that resulted in a fatal dose of methadone, the tragic mistake that abruptly turned King into a determined advocate for increased patient safety and better hospital procedures. It’s that painful personal experience, she says, that makes the medical personnel hear what she has to say.

King has documented her own first-hand experience with this wrenching issue in her book, the autobiographical Josie’s Story, which in turn led to the creation of the Josie King Foundation, through which she pursues her advocacy work. It’s a role she hopes to be able to pull back from sometime, but that day doesn’t appear to be coming any time soon.

Sorrel King believes that the number of near misses, when potentially fatal mistakes are caught just in time, or corrected before they have tragic consequences, is far higher than the actual number of deaths that occur. So she pushing hospitals to adopt procedures to report and track those near misses, too.

The seventh annual Gene and Evelyn Benedetti Leadership Award celebrationn honors Nancy Corda (right)  at  6 p.m. on Friday May 7 at the Sheraton Petaluma. Proceeds will be used to purchase a mobile ultrasound machine for Petaluma Valley Hospital. Information: 778-2796.


Apr 28

Ghosts from the Nursery

Posted by Bruce Robinson in women , teens , students , speaker , Santa Rosa , research , public safety , nonprofit orgs , Health , families , education , children , author

Bruce Robinson

The roots of violent behavior can be traced back to the earliest stages of childhood, even before birth. But steps to shape positive development can also start just as early.

Robin Karr-Morse and her co-author, Meredith Wiley, are now at work on a new book, The Monster in the Closet, that takes a deeper look at the physiology of infant brain development. A key part of the process, Karr-Morse explains, is the gradual maturation of the cortical brain.

When a child’s development is impaired, whether through neglect, abuse, poor diet, exposure to drugs or any other sources, the consequences can sometimes be countered or mitigated if positive interventions become available. But Karr-Morse says their effectiveness varies so widely, it becomes virtually impossible to generalize about outcomes.

Robin Karr-Morse was the featured speaker April 28 at the the annual Blue Ribbon lunch for Child Abuse Prevention month in Sonoma County, an event co-sponsored by the California Parenting Institute and Prevent Child Abuse, Sonoma County.



Apr 21

Wal-Mart in Rohnert Park

Posted by Bruce Robinson in unions , Rohnert Park , research , protest , policy , jobs , employment , California , business , author , activism

Bruce Robinson

Critics of Wal-Mart who oppose the retail giant’s plans to expand in Rohnert Park are fighting an uphill battle, especially on labor issues, warns a University of California historian who has studied the company.

Knowing they will face local opposition in many communities, Nelson Lichtenstein (left)  observes that Wal-Mart has recently turned to a new tactic to minimize the regulatory review they must undergo—moving into existing but empty big box buildings.

That didn’t work so smoothly for the company in Santa Rosa, but the vacated space next to the already-established Wal-Mart in Rohnert Park apparently prompted their bid to expand into it.

In his recent book, The Retail Revolution, Lichtenstein  charts the history of Wal-Mart from its  origins in Arkansas and Alabama, detailing how the attitudes of founder Sam Walton became enmeshed into the core culture of the company. And, he says, they didn’t change as the retailer expanded and grew, and now lie at the heart of many of Wal-mart’s battles with local communities.

Opposition to the  proposed Wal-Mart Supcercenter in Rohnert Park (seen here in an artist's drawing of the project as it might look)  is being led by the Living Wage Coalition. The city's planning staff has recommended approval of the Environmental Impact Report for the expansion.  Read the full staff report here. The city's original approval for the store in 1991 allowed the store to occupy up to 225,500 square feet; is it currently using just 131,500 square feet, and the proposed Supercenter would increase that to just under 178,000 square feet.


Apr 14

Tim Wise on Racism

Posted by Bruce Robinson in speaker , rights , poverty , policy , justice , Ideas , history , education , current events , Congress , community , author

Bruce Robinson

Racism will remain an ugly subtext in American culture, says writer Tim Wise (below), until we can collectively bring the subject out of the shadows and talk about it honestly.

Before America, as a society, can fully acknowledge and embrace the racial differences within, Wise contends we will need to recognize the ways in which white privilege has been empowered by the government. The backlash against the welfare programs of the past 40 years, he says, are a sad indicator of how far away such acceptance still lies.

One of the curious aspects of racist behavior, in Wise’s analysis, is how bigotry can lead people to act against the own best interests, out of fear those actions would also benefit the people they disparage.






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