Being Safe & Sound in the Hospital

Going into the hospital? Take the advice offered in Safe & Sound in the Hospital. Be sure to take someone, a care partner, to act as your advocate.

Readers awarded 5 Stars to Safe and Sound in the Hospital. The book is available on

One in three patients is accidentally harmed in U.S. hospitals every year, according to a 2011 Health Affairs study. But, Karen Curtiss, author of Safe & Sound, is convinced that patients with family and friends as care partners can fill the cracks in hospital care that leads to Never Events.

Too often, however, care partners aren’t prepared to know what questions to ask and what next steps to take.

Karen wasn’t prepared for the series of medical errors that struck her family. After a successful lung transplant at a top academic medical center, her father died from complications resulting from a fall that went untreated for 57 hours, leading to pneumonia, blood clots, and a pulmonary embolism.  Her husband spent 18 months recovering from sepsis, stemming from improper surgery preparation and care afterward.  And, her young son would have undergone an unnecessary operation had she not sought a second opinion.

Karen Curtiss, author of Safe & Sound in the Hospital

Karen Curtiss

Determined to help other families avoid similar fates, Karen, with more than 25 years of market research experience, started digging for answers. She slogged through nursing textbooks, talked to medical and patient safety experts, searched through healthcare studies and more. There are actionable steps families and friends can take to prevent every hospital hazard her family suffered, plus others. She learned that the medical community has a name for them: NEVER Events

Karen compiled her research into Safe & Sound in the Hospital, a 91-page, wire-bound handbook, designed to educate patients and their families to prepare and be aware of issues that can arise during a hospital stay—as well as prevent another hospital stay. The book provides practical tips, creative tools and quick checklists that care partners can use to help prevent common hospital hazards and promote a safe recovery.

“I wrote the handbook I wish my family had available,” says Karen. “If I’d had Safe & Sound in the Hospital when my father was in the hospital, he’d be alive today. This guide is my way of transforming my family’s tragedies into better outcomes for others.”

In Safe & Sound in the Hospital, Karen offers tips and guidance such as:

  • Keep your loved one safe from infection.
  • Speak up and ask questions.
  • How to call for a Rapid Response Team.
  • When to schedule surgeries
  • Double-check each medication just before it’s given.
  • Preventing disastrous falls.

Safe & Sound in the Hospital, rated 5 Stars by Amazon readers, provides the information and tools you and your care partners need to safeguard a family member’s or friend’s care.

“It’s a better gift than flowers.”

Bio, Karen Curtiss

To purchase Safe & Sound in the Hospital from

Podcast (17 Minutes) Safe & Sound in the Hospital

4 Responses to “Being Safe & Sound in the Hospital”

  1. Magdline Victoria said:

    Jan 18, 13 at 2:47 pm

    What a wonderful handbook to give or use in anticipation of a hospital stay. The interview was very interesting. Thanks for the info!

  2. Karen Curtiss said:

    Jan 22, 13 at 3:11 pm

    Thank you, Doris, for the chance to share Safe & Sound in the Hospital with you and your colleagues. You are a great interviewer and made me feel so comfortable! Just as an update since we talked, Safe & Sound will be featured on The Doctors TV show on CBS tomorrow, 1/23. Also, I will be in New York on the 28th at the New America Foundation to participate in a panel discussion on patient empowerment in the age of health care reform. Starts at 6:30 and I hope you can attend!

  3. Health Thought Leaders One-to-One with Karen Curtiss | Safe and Sound in the Hospital said:

    Feb 11, 13 at 11:54 am

    […] One in three patients is accidentally harmed in U.S. hospitals every year, according to a 2011 Health Affairs study… Read more/listen to podcast […]

  4. Bill Kaval said:

    May 02, 13 at 12:27 am

    Campaign Zero: I can relate. My mother fell in December of 2007. Taken to Andrews AFB hospital. Treated her, couldn’t wait to get rid of her (she was 83 at the time). Sent to a rehab close to me in Charles County, Md.
    Once there, infections hit her, she was sent to Civista Hospital in La Plata,Md. This became a regular routine for the next 3 months. Her treatment/care in the hospital was terrible. I’d get calls from her all hours of the night, telling me she had trouble moving (could not use the toilet by herself) and lay in her own crap, not being changed for hours.
    It was really bad on weekends. Because of body infections by not being moved properly or often by the nursing staff, she got weaker, and on a rainy Friday night, March 7, 2008, she died. Not from the original fall that out her in this nightmare, BUT from the lack of care, concern, treatment of the hospital. I still can’t get over it. So, see Ms Karen, I know exactly where you are coming from.

    Bill Kaval
    A retired police lieutenant

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