Paralyzed Xbox Designer and Hospital that Paralyzed Him Work Together
August de los Reyes, 42, has brought his sharp eye to designing Microsoft’s Xbox and to revamping the website design of Pinterest. Now, after his local hospital paralyzed him through medical error, August is turning his eye to designing improved patient-safety protocols.
August, who suffers from a rare inflammatory disease that makes his spine brittle and prone to factures, fell out of bed in his home and hurt his back. August knew his condition made spinal injuries a serious concern, so when he entered the Overlake emergency room he warned them, over four separate ER visits over two weeks, that he had suffered a spinal fracture. Over six hospital staff members ignored his warnings, and it resulted in leaving him paralyzed from the chest down.
August was awarded more than $20 million in a settlement with the hospital, but, like most victims of medical malpractice, August knew money wasn’t going to make him whole. August wanted this to never happened to anyone else.
So, as part of his legal settlement with the hospital, August has forced the hospital to agree to work with him on designing a “case study” to figure out where things broke down and analyzing how and why they did.
August has also utilized his personal network of designers, including Allen Sayegh, an associate professor at Harvard Graduate School of Design, to figure out how to identify the problems in the hospital’s systems and craft solutions.
Working with my medical malpractice clients, I know that although most need a financial settlement in order to pay for their future medical care, money won’t give them the closure to move on with their lives after. What August de los Reyes is doing is showing victims of medical malpractice another way forward. A path that involves getting the financial settlement they need and yet also working towards making sure others aren’t hurt in the same way.
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