An Open Letter to Oprah
Note to self and others: ask yourself and others ”What happened to you?” more often, to heal and help to heal.
I am not sure what this letter is going to be at the end, but I imagine it will be a little bit of everything: a book review, a letter of gratitude, a reflection of my life, and an ask for help. My name is Soojin Jun and I am a patient safety activist and a pharmacist. My name means an outstanding jewel.
I finished the book ”What Happened to You?: Conversations on Trauma, Resilience, and Healing?” by you and Dr. Bruce Perry, and it almost felt like you were putting words in my mouth at so many timelines. I have been on a personal healing journey for a few months now and your book has come to me. I had no idea this book was going to be about healing but I chose it out of curiosity, mostly because it was written by you. Many things you wrote in the book resonated with me from my childhood, the present work I am doing, and even my future self. So here I am expressing my gratitude for what your book has done for me. As you have written, I feel everyone needs to read it as I feel so many of us live unhealed. Wonderful shared experiences of Dr. Bruce Perry with compassion as a clinician were very helpful as well.
I wish I can meet someone like him soon to work on healing for my family, for co-founders of Patients for Patient Safety US — a group of patient safety activists who have either experienced harm themselves or caregivers who have lost their loved ones from medical harm— and many more patients, caregivers, and advocates who have trusted healthcare but instead have been harmed and hurt. What I have realized through your book and so many patient advocates I have met or have talked to, is that we have something in common in our past. The magnitude of hurt is exponential to the amount of trust we have put into the relationship, whether it is with our parents, partners, and even healthcare.
After reading your book, I told my fellow activists that I would write you a letter. I literally wrote what you wrote in your book in my first Medium article; I wrote that stories of those who lost their loved ones to medical errors were my stories as well, just like you felt stories of others who were…