About Kathy Torpie

Kathy Torpie was an active, independent woman in excellent health when life as she had known it changed forever. Her car was hit head on by a drunk driver and the fit body that she took pride in was crushed on impact.

.....Every bone of her facial skeleton was shattered.

When she woke up, Kathy Torpie was no longer active or independent. She was a helpless patient in an intensive care unit on life support. Terrified and confused, Kathy found herself trapped in a broken body in an alien environment that spoke in a language she didn’t understand. She was totally dependent on strangers who knew her only as a “multi trauma”.

Following three weeks on life support and a further three months in the hospital, Kathy spent the next 17 years undergoing dozens of additional surgeries. Her experience was rewarded by the successful reconstruction of her face and body together with a clear understanding about the nature of the patient experience and what constitutes quality healthcare. She has since shared her story and insights in inspirational keynote presentations in New Zealand, Australia, Europe, the United States and Canada. In 2011, Kathy delivered a keynote presentation to an audience of 3,000 world leaders in healthcare from 70 countries at the International Forum on Quality and Safety. Her presentation received an enthusiastic response from delegates and conference organizers alike.

Kathy has been interviewed live on radio and television in New Zealand and Australia and her story has featured in most major New Zealand and Australian magazines. A ‘60 Minutes’ TV segment featuring her story was so well received that it was nominated for a Media Peace Award in New Zealand. She is a contributing author of ‘Learning from Patient Stories: A Book of Case Studies’, Jones and Bartlett Learning Publishers and is a member of the Beryl Institute's Global Patient & Family Advisory Council.

American born, Kathy Torpie lives in New Zealand.

"...your talk was moving and profoundly changed the audience" (Maureen Bisognano, President and CEO, IHI)