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Medical Errors

Medical Errors

Wrong surgery, wrong medication, serious bedsores… Unsafe practices and poor quality care kill 98,000 patients each year and waste billions of dollars every year. What information do you have about the safety of your hospital? What protections do you have if the hospital makes a mistake with you?

Click here for State Health Care Acquired Infection Reports

Consumers Union Documents

  • How to stay safe in the hospital

    Advice form advocates with experience in hospital safety.

  • Consumer Reports: Survive your hospital stay
    Source: Consumer Reports (Thursday March 27, 2014)

    Medical errors are linked to 440,000 deaths each year. Our new Ratings can help you find a safe hospital. CU Safe Patient Project activist, John James, Ph.D., authored a major study on hospital safety after his son’s death.

  • Consumer Reports: How safe is your baby’s medicine bottle?
    Source: Consumer Reports (Tuesday December 31, 2014)

    Infant Tylenol and other liquid acetaminophen products have a new safety feature. Consumer Reports put it to the test.

  • Presentations from the Consumers Union/Washington Advocates for Patient Safety Meeting

    Washingtonians: Become Safe & Savvy Health Care Consumers! Joint Presentation by: Consumers Union – Safe Patient Project Washington Advocates for Patient Safety September 30, 2013 CU Safe Patient Project and hip and knee warranty campaign overview-Lisa McGiffert, Suzanne Henry CU storytelling and social media-Daniela Nunez WA advocates for patient safety overview- Yanling Yu Transparency and Accountability Continue Reading

  • Consumer Reports: The cancer tests you need—and those you don't (preview only)
    Source: Consumer Reports (Wednesday February 6, 2013)

    For this investigation, we pored over reams of research, consulted medical experts, surveyed more than 10,000 readers, and talked with patients. We found that too many people are getting tests they don’t need or understand, and too few are getting those that could save their lives. Many patients, and even some doctors, can be confused by cancer screening.

Consumers Union News Releases

Blog Posts

  • Safe Patient Project teams up with Maine activist Kathy Day

    Safe Patient Project’s Daniela Nunez went to healthcare and patient safety-related meetings in Maine this week, joining activist Kathy Day who won a patient partnership award at the Maine Quality Counts conference. Read about important health care conversations happening in Maine.

  • Go Team! Advocates Deliver Patient Safety Message in Washington State

    Last week, the Safe Patient Project traveled to Washington State to team up with Washington Advocates for Patient Safety to give a voice to the health care crisis of preventable medical harm

  • Consumers Union’s “Ending Medical Harm” Conference Brings Awareness and Action

    Consumers Union’s Safe Patient Project held an incredible conference on November 6, 2013 at Columbia University’s School of Journalism in NYC that gathered experts, journalists and activists to address the pressing public health threat of medical harm. Our conference, “Ending Medical Harm: Tackling the 3rd leading cause of death in the US,” had approximately 150 Continue Reading

  • Endangered Patients: WA Consumer Forum Explores Ending Medical Harm

      Consumers Union’s Safe Patient Project and Washington Advocates for Patient Safety (WAPS) teamed up to host a patient safety forum at the Seattle Public Library to explore ideas for ending patient harm and what consumers can do to protect themselves from medical errors, hospital infections and failed hip and knee implants. About thirty-five people heard Continue Reading

  • Hospital Harm: New Estimate of Patient Deaths due to Hospital Care Shockingly High

    John T. James PhD, a patient safety advocate in our Safe Patient Project network, has published a new study in the Journal of Patient Safety that estimates the number of patient deaths associated with hospital care is more than 400,000 a year. James’ estimate revises an outdated Institute of Medicine 1999 estimate of 98,000 patient deaths a year from medical errors. His numbers should awaken the public to this leading cause of death in America. In this special guest blog post, John James tells us what motivated him to come up with this new medical harm estimate.

News Articles

  • Chicago Sun Times covers Consumer Reports hospital ratings
    Source: Sun Times (Thursday March 27, 2014)

    Chicago Sun Times covers Consumer Reports’ hospital ratings that were released today.

  • 3 local hospitals get low grades from Consumer Reports
    Source: The Journal News (Thursday March 27, 2014)

    News coverage of Consumer Reports’ latest hospital safety ratings. Three local hospitals were among seven in the New York metro area that scored 30 or below on a 100-point scale.

  • Consumer Reports Releases Top Hospitals for Safety List
    Source: Medscape (Thursday March 27, 2014)

    Medscape coverage of Consumer Reports’ latest release of hospital safety scores. “The differences between high-scoring hospitals and low-scoring ones can be a matter of life and death,” says Dr. Santa, Consumer Reports.

  • Medtronic Sued by 1,000 Infuse Patients
    Source: MedPage Today (Wednesday March 5, 2014)

    1,000 patients sue Medtronic over Infuse spine product. Many more lawsuits may be coming and state AGs investigating. Independent studies have found that Infuse offered little benefit over conventional spine surgery and raised questions about the possibility that the product was linked to serious adverse events including cancer and sterility in men.

  • Consumers Union quoted in Modern Healthcare article about patient consent
    Source: Modern Healthcare (Tuesday February 25, 2014)

    Consumers Union’s Suzanne Henry quoted in Modern Healthcare article about patient consent in comparative effectiveness studies.

Research and Reports

  • Information about Rhode Island ICU Collaborative
    Source: Healthcentric Advisors (Tuesday January 7, 2014)

    “The collaborative aims to improve patient safety and clinical outcomes for adult intensive care unit (ICU) patients in the state, through the development of a unit-based patient safety program and the implementation of proven evidenced-based practices, leading to a reduction in ICU length of stay, complications and associated costs.” Latest outcomes available here: http://www.healthcentricadvisors.org/images/stories/documents/2012%20annual%20performance.pdf

  • Health Watch USA Newsletter (January 2014)
    Source: Health Watch USA (Tuesday January 7, 2014)

    In this issue, Dr. Kevin Kavanagh highlights news on antibiotic resistance, C.diff solutions, and unreported robotic surgery injuries.

  • 2014-2015 Targeted Medication Safety Best Practices for Hospitals
    Source: ISMP (Thursday December 12, 2013)

    Institute for Safe Medication Practices report on medication safety best practices for hospitals.

  • Free Android Empowered Patient app on Google Play
    Source: Julia Hallisy (Wednesday December 4, 2013)

    The Empowered Patient app has created a free phone app to assist patients, family members, and caregivers from diagnosis to discharge and beyond. The app offers practical information and action steps to help patients and caregivers navigate the often challenging and confusing world of health care and to help patients stay safe during their medical treatment.

  • Free Empowered Patient app on iTunes
    Source: Julia Hallisy (Wednesday December 4, 2013)

    The Empowered Patient app has created a free phone app to assist patients, family members, and caregivers from diagnosis to discharge and beyond. The app offers practical information and action steps to help patients and caregivers navigate the often challenging and confusing world of health care and to help patients stay safe during their medical treatment.