Notes from Karen Curtiss



“I wrote the handbook I wish my family had. Safe & Sound in the Hospital is my way of transforming our family’s tragedies into better outcomes for others.”

-Karen Curtiss, author, Safe & Sound in the Hospital





Everyone has a “hospital story,” and Karen Curtiss has more than her fair share.

  • After a successful lung transplant at a top academic medical center, her father died from a fall that went untreated for 57 hours, which led to pneumonia, blood clots, a pulmonary embolism, MRSA, C diff — and more.
  • Her husband spent 18 months recovering from sepsis and a VRE infection, stemming from improper pre- and post-surgery care.
  • And her son would have undergone an unnecessary operation had she not questioned a doctor and sought a second opinion.

Determined to help other families avoid similar fates, Karen  spent years scouring nursing textbooks, slogging through healthcare studies, talking to patient safety and other medical experts.  Then she distilled all she learned into the quick, simple checklists that make up Safe & Sound in the Hospital. 

Safe & Sound also offers lots of pages for taking notes — plus, beautiful color photographs with inspirational quotes.  Hospital care can be stressful and everyone appreciates a little “emotional time-out.”

Karen’s mission to educate families about how to safeguard their loved ones’ care before, during and after a hospital stay follows a long career in market research. As president of Strategic Research Corporation for more than 25 years, Curtiss specialized in communication strategy and customer satisfaction as a consultant to Fortune 500 companies.

In writing Safe & Sound in the Hospital, Curtiss applied her research skills to study how hospital care is managed, where gaps are most likely to occur and best practices for preventing hospital hazards like the ones her family experienced, often referred to as “Never Events” in the medical community.

Curtiss is convinced that family members who know what to watch for and what to do to support their loved ones’  care  can cut hospital readmissions and help fill the cracks in hospital care that lead to patient harm.

Curtiss fills a busy calendar with writing, and speaking engagements before groups of all kinds, including nurses, doctors and hospital administrators who are eager to partner with patients and families for safer, better care.