Ten years ago the Institute of Medicine (IOM) declared that as many as 98,000 people die each year needlessly because of preventable medical harm, including health care-acquired infections. Ten years later, our nation has no evidence that health care is safer; in fact, indicators show that more medical harm is occurring than a decade ago.

Patients have had to be patient for too long. It’s about time we see results. Our new report “To Err is Human – To Delay is Deadly” calls attention to the IOM’s unfulfilled call to action. Read the full report here.

Few hospitals have adopted well-known systems to prevent medication errors and the FDA rarely intervenes.
A national system of accountability through transparency as recommended by the IOM has not been created.
No national entity has been empowered to coordinate and track patient safety improvements.
Doctors and other health professionals are not expected to demonstrate competency.

After the release of the IOM report “To Err is Human” it seemed like the nation was listening. The headline “Medical Errors Blamed for Many Deaths; As Many as 98,000 a Year in U.S. Linked to Mistakes” made the front page of the Washington Post and the story was featured on several major network news shows and magazines. Yet these grim realities were forgotten by many after the news had faded while people were getting harmed in our medical system.

Following the release of our report, several publications and news outlets have highlighted the problem of medical errors. Reuters wrote about our report on the day of its release. WebMD also featured our report in “Deadly Medical Errors Still Plague U.S.”

WebMD interviewed Lucian Leape, MD, one of the original authors of To Err is Human. From WebMD:

The new [Consumers Union] report is “right on,” says Lucian Leape, MD, adjunct professor of health policy at Harvard School of Public Health and longtime patient safety advocate. The lack of progress in implementing the IOM recommendations, he says, ”is an immense public policy failure.”