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Archive for Medical Errors

Consumers Union Documents

Consumers Union News Releases

Blog Posts

  • 5 Steps For Care Coordination With Your Doctors

    Without good coordination of care, risks for medical error rise significantly. Use these five Consumer Reports tips to make sure your doctors are doing the right thing.

  • 11 tips for how to complain about your medical care

    Check out Public Citizen’s fantastic guide for where to complain, written by Alan Levine, member of Consumers Union’s Safe Patient Network.

  • Does your doctor wash their hands?

    Check out this great new video about hand hygiene practices by health care workers created by the Alliance for Safety Awareness for Patients.

  • 5 Reasons Why Duodenoscope Problems Matter

    Duodenoscopes have contributed to deadly CRE infection outbreaks across the country. Learn how to protect yourself.

  • Factors to Consider When Choosing a Doctor

    What factors do you consider when choosing a doctor? Do you care more about having a doctor who communicates well or is it more important that your doctor has lots of experience and skills?

  • 3 Questions To Ask Your Doctor About Your Medications

    Learn the Risks and Benefits of Any Drug You Take Taking a new medication is a big deal. When a doctor recommends a new prescription, you should walk away knowing why it was prescribed and how you should monitor your symptoms after taking it. The more informed you are as a patient, the easier it will Continue Reading

  • A Surprising Way to Avoid Medical Errors in the Hospital

    Most of us have a bad waiter or waitress experience. Maybe they were rude, made a mistake with your dish, or overcharged you. Similarly, people have had less than optimal experiences in the hospital, as a patient or family member of a patient.

  • 6 Questions to Ask Before Getting a CT scan or X-ray

    I was shocked to learn that 15,000 people are estimated to die each year because of cancers caused by the radiation in CT scans.

  • Video: What do we want? Safe health care!

    Medical harm is the third leading cause of death in the US. These Safe Patient Project activists are doing amazing things to change that. Check out our new video!

  • These people are working to make your health care safer

    Consumers Union’s Safe Patient Project hosts a national gathering of patient safety activists from across the country to connect face-to-face, share information and strategize on future work together. This year November 11-13, we held our 9th summit in Yonkers, NY, headquarters of Consumer Reports.

  • The Empowered Patient Coalition Launches New Website To Help You Navigate the Health Care System

    Learn more at

  • Even doctors are prescribed unnecessary antibiotics

    Dr. Kevin Kavanagh woke up one morning with a sore throat and felt weak. He did what many of us would do in that situation: go to the doctor.

  • What You Need To Know Before Getting Heart Surgery

    Our Consumer Reports colleagues published an informative report on heart surgery to help you make informed choices when you make life and death decisions.

  • California Safe Patient activists celebrate progress and testify at Medical Board of California meeting

    A week ago, our Consumers Union (CU) Safe Patient Project staff went to sunny California to meet with our network of activists that are working to protect CA patients from medical harm. Find out what we did!

  • Consumer Reports shows you what hospitals don’t want you to know about C-sections

    Consumer Reports has today released groundbreaking hospital ratings by C-section rates, informing the public about which hospitals perform C-sections at higher rates than others for low-risk deliveries…

  • Study: 1 in 20 patients misdiagnosed in outpatient settings

    A new study published in the BMJ Quality & Safety journal found that at least one in twenty patients is misdiagnosed in an outpatient setting, which can put them at risk. NBC News covered this new study, and quoted our Safe Patient Project Director Lisa McGiffert.

  • 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.

  • Preventing Overdiagnosis: Consumer Reports participates in a groundbreaking conference to address a growing healthcare problem

    People immediately understand misdiagnosis, but the concept of overdiagnosis can be harder to grasp, especially when stories of people getting bad or inadequate care dominates headlines. When it comes to healthcare, is there any harm in getting too much?

  • Must watch videos of Medical Harm: Advocates at Patient Safety Science and Technology Summit

    Videos: Patient safety advocates, Lenore Alexander and Helen Haskell recently spoke at a conference and shared heartbreaking stories about their children; both how wonderful they were and how they tragically died from medical errors.

  • Safe Patient Summit inspires patient safety advocates

    This week, Consumers Union’s Safe Patient Project brought 31 energized advocates from across the U.S. to the 7th annual Safe Patient summit November 12-14, with a day of presentations at Consumer Reports headquarters in Yonkers, NY.

  • Washington Advocates for Patient Safety participate in Patient Safety Day

    Last month on July 25, members of the Washington Advocates for Patient Safety (WAPS) commemorated Patient Safety Day in their home state of Washington by joining several people working on health care issues in the state and giving a voice to patients who have experienced preventable medical harm.

  • Errors of Omission

    Guest blog post by John T. James, Ph.D. founder of Patient Safety America, a website created to provide information to patients or potential patients who are concerned about the quality of health care they receive in this country.

  • Tuesday 6/7: Join a live web chat with Safe Patient Project

    Join the Chicago Tribune for a live web chat at noon CT (1 p.m. ET/10 a.m. PT) on Tuesday, June 7, to chat about hospital safety with Tribune reporter Judy Graham, and panelists Empowered Patient Coalition’s Dr. Julia Hallisy and Consumers Union’s Safe Patient Project Director Lisa McGiffert.

  • Video: Advice on staying safe in the hospital–from the experts

    Hear advice from consumer advocates on patient safety.

  • If you’re in the San Diego area tomorrow, meet us at the Empowered Patient training

    On Saturday, October 9, the Empowered Patient Coalition along with Consumers Union’s Safe Patient Project and AARP California will be holding a special training in San Diego for patients and caregivers on how to stay safe in the hospital.

  • California Moving Too Slow On Patient Safety Progress

    Since 2006, California lawmakers have passed laws to improve patient safety, yet the California Department of Public Health (CDPH) has been moving at turtle speed to enforce these laws.

  • New Resource for Those Dissatisfied with a Health Care Experience

    Guest blog post by Deb Wachenheim, Health Quality Manager at Health Care For All (HCFA) in Boston. HCFA has launched a new website that can help patients in Massachusetts and across the country speak up when something goes wrong in the hospital. There is information on asking for help when you are in the hospital, advice on how to file a complaint, and resources available to help you.

  • U.S. Congressman dies following surgical error, infection

    Our leaders in Congress experience medical harm, too. On Monday, Politico reported that Pennsylvania U.S. Congressman John Murtha had died as a result of complications from recent gallbladder removal surgery at Bethesda Naval Hospital.

  • Delaying Is Deadly–Join Our Patient Safety Webcast on November 17

    On November 17, Consumers Union’s Safe Patient Project is hosting a forum in Washington DC based on the 10-year anniversary of the Institute of Medicine (IOM) study on medical errors, “To Err Is Human.”

  • Hospitals in the Blogosphere

    If your hospital had a blog, would you read it? More importantly, would you expect to see information that every patient deserves – such as hospital infection rates or harmful medical errors happening there?

  • RFO Encounters in Pennsylvania

    You’ve heard of UFOs but have you heard of RFOs? 194 Pennsylvanians could tell you about their RFO encounter last year – that’s how many cases of “retained foreign objects” were reported to that state’s Patient Safety Authority in 2008.

  • Hospitals Own Up to Errors

    Some Find That Confronting Mistakes Reduces Litigation—and Future Mishaps.

  • Watch Money-Driven Medicine

    A new documentary, Money-Driven Medicine, offers a thoughtful perspective to the health care reform debate that couldn’t be timelier.

  • Patient Safety Advocates speak out on Health Care Reform

    Read and sign the Patient Safety Advocates’ Statement on Health Care Reform.

  • Dead by Mistake

    Check out this new collection of medical errors reporting: “Dead by Mistake”

  • In Honor of Patients

    Join patient safety advocates across the country tomorrow to observe Patient Safety Day.

  • Medicare releases data on hospital readmissions

    The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) announced last Thursday that it has added readmission rates for more than 4,000 hospitals across the U.S to its Hospital Compare website. With proper care, most people should not have to go back to the hospital shortly after release. This is a key indicator of quality and varies a lot between hospitals.

  • Patient Safety Activists Represent Consumers at Presidential Health Care Forum

    Four patient safety activists – all who have been personally affected by medical harm – were among the 164 participants in ABC’s televised health care forum held with President Obama. Understandably, they came armed with questions but didn’t get to ask them. So we wanted to give them a chance to get their questions in front of the public and lawmakers here on this blog.

  • Insight from California Safe Patient Network

    Guest blogger, Holly Harris from San Diego, shares what she learned at the California Safe Patient Network meeting and calls on us to join and spread the word about preventable medical harm.

  • Not Another Ten Years

    Our new report “To Err is Human – To Delay is Deadly” calls attention to the IOM’s unfulfilled call to action.

  • Raise your hand if you’ve had a hospital-acquired infection

    More people know about hospital acquired infections and medical errors than you might think, and not just from watching Oprah.

  • Watch these personal stories — Quality Care Saves Lives!

    I’d like to point you to four brave patients, who debuted their videos to lawmakers at the Massachusetts State House and encouraged them to take an active role to improve patient safety.

  • Medical Mistakes show on Oprah

    Did you catch the Oprah Winfrey Show on Tuesday about medical mistakes? She featured actor Dennis Quaid who recalled the series of hospital errors that nearly killed his newborn twins after they were given one thousand times the amount of the blood-thinning drug Heparin—twice.

  • CMS decisions on non-payment for surgical errors

    It’s official. The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) will no longer pay for surgery in which certain “never events” occur: wrong surgery, wrong patient, wrong body part.

  • “I don’t want to die (in the hospital)”

    While he may not be singing about hospital infections specifically, Conor Oberst and the Mystic Valley Band humorously assemble the jolting anxiety we’d feel as a hospital patient trying to get out…

  • Mother against medical error

    Helen Haskell, founder of Mothers Against Medical Error (MAME), became a patient safety advocate after her 15 year old son died from a medical error in 2000. Watch her story.

  • NYT calls for doctors to be included in Medicare non-payment rules

    The New York Times came out Sunday with a strong call for making the new Medicare rule to stop paying for care needed after hospitals harm their patients apply to physicians too, stating the current policy lets “doctors off scot-free.”

  • SC activist Dianne Parker fights for safer care

    Dianne Parker became a lead patient safety activist after her husband, Willie, died from a combination of medical errors and a hospital-acquired MRSA infection. Watch her story…

  • Actor, cancer survivor talks about being a “bad” patient

    “Sex and the City” actor, Evan Handler, had it hard enough fighting leukemia in his early adulthood, and now he’s speaking out about his experience with medical errors and life after cancer.

  • Medicare won’t foot the bill for medical errors

    Effective today, Medicare will stop compensating hospitals for the additional costs to treat patients who suffered from certain preventable infections and errors due to bad medical care.

  • You Score Higher Marks than Doctors

    According to new FDA data, consumers like you make up the majority of drug adverse event reports submitted, replacing physicians.

  • Some Hospitals Provide Rxs for Error, Dissatisfaction

    You may remember Dennis Quaid from The Parent Trap but nowadays he’s speaking out against medical errors…

  • 3 minutes of your time could save your life

    I needed an antidote. Too many drug ads—smiling people glowing with the pleasure of their successful medical treatments. But of course, they are actors.

  • No side effects, says who?

    Is your doctor listening to you or the drug companies when it comes to pinpointing the cause of your symptoms?

  • Next stop: House floor for drug safety

    Last night, in a vote of 39-0, the full House Energy and Commerce committee approved legislation that would provide funding for the FDA, with drug safety reforms included. Many reforms are stronger than Senate’s version passed last month. Floor vote expected after July 4th recess.

  • Avandia added to the growing list of drugs that just might kill you

    You can’t pick up a paper or turn on the news this week without hearing about Avandia, the latest blockbuster drug in the spotlight for potentially deadly side effects. This treatment, prescribed to about 6 million diabetics since 1999, is likely to increase cardiovascular disease and heart attacks in its users.

News Articles

  • The 21st Century Cures Act — Will It Take Us Back in Time?
    Source: NEJM (Wednesday June 3, 2015)

    “Patients and physicians would not benefit from legislation that instead of catapulting us into the future, could actually bring back some of the problems we thought we had left behind in the 20th century.

  • Long-Term Data on Complications Adds to Criticism of Contraceptive Implant
    Source: NYT (Monday May 4, 2015)

    Essure is not a sure bet for women who have suffered the consequences of the device failing, resulting in everything from pain, bleeding to pregnancy.

  • Sepsis, A Wily Killer, Stymies Doctors' Efforts To Tame It
    Source: NPR (Monday May 4, 2015)

    Sepsis is “one of the most common causes of death in the hospital, killing more people than breast cancer and prostate cancer combined.”

  • To reduce malpractice litigation, stop making mistakes
    Source: The Hill (Monday March 16, 2015)

    A new Public Citizen report about obstetric safety in the United States concludes the U.S. “has a poor childbirth safety record, likely due in part to the failure of obstetrics practitioners to develop and adhere to standardized practices.”

  • Joan Rivers Lawsuit Will Focus on Informed Consent
    Source: Patient Safety and Quality Healthcare (Friday February 6, 2015)

    A good document for patients to read before signing informed consent forms.

  • The Public's Views on Medical Error in Massachusetts
    Source: Harvard School of Public Health (Sunday December 14, 2014)

    The report commissioned by the Betsy Lehman Center for Patient Safety and Medical Error Reduction reveals the public’s ambivalence and confusion about reporting medical errors.

  • Medical errors in Mass. still common, study finds
    Source: Boston Globe (Tuesday December 2, 2014)

    Work done by the Betsy Lehman Center for Patient Safety reports that a quarter of MA residents had a medical error but many did not report the error because they didn’t think it would do any good.

  • The Politics of Patient Harm: Medical Error and the Safest Congressional Districts

    The Politics of Patient Harm: Medical Error and the Safest Congressional Districts poses the question of Congressional district safety not in regard to a representative’s political health in an election year, but in relation to the risk to physical health of constituents.

  • Launch of Engaged Patients Website
    Source: (Wednesday October 1, 2014)

    The Empowered Patient Coalition 501(c)(3) announces a new project at focusing on creating a grassroots social movement to inform and engage the public to participate in their health care experiences.

  • Conversation on Medical Overuse and its Effect on Patient Safety with Rosemary Gibson, MSc
    Source: (Thursday October 2, 2014)

    Rosemary Gibson says medical overuse is pervasive.

  • Lockport woman’s loss becomes a lesson for all in the health care industry
    Source: Buffalo News (Sunday September 7, 2014)

    Buffalo News highlights the patient safety advocacy of Mary Brennan-Taylor, a member of Consumers Union’s Safe Patient Project activist network.

  • Surveys give low grades to ENH Lockport
    Source: Lockport Journal (Sunday August 17, 2014)

    Patient safety advocate Mary Brennan-Taylor (member of CU’s Safe Patient Project network) and Consumer Reports’ John Santa quoted on controversy surrounding a Lockport hospital’s poor patient safety scores by Consumer Reports.

  • Ex-Des Moines doctor cited in West Virginia VA death

    With a trail of errors behind him, Iowa doctor hired by a VA hospital in West Virginia.

  • There is a database, but it costs to search
    Source: Des Moines Register (Thursday August 14, 2014)

    The National Practitioner Data Bank is what state licensing boards use to research a doctor’s background but the AMA says it’s not reliable. Why is it acceptable to use this information to license a physician but not show it to the public?

  • Op-ed by Kevin Kavanagh, MD: Use hospital rankings to stay out of harm's way
    Source: Lexington Herald Leader (Sunday August 10, 2014)

    Dr. Kevin Kavanagh, board chairman of Health Watch USA and member of Consumers Union’s Safe Patient Project network explains how patients and consumers can make sense of various hospital rankings. For more information on KY hospital rankings, click here:

  • Maryland hospitals aren't reporting all errors and complications, experts say
    Source: Baltimore Sun (Saturday July 26, 2014)

    What information patients can find on medical errors at [Maryland] hospitals “is sorely lacking, unvalidated and without much meaning to the general public,” said Michael Bennett, who became a patient safety advocate after his 88-year-old father’s death.

  • Patients remain in danger from preventable errors
    Source: Fierce Healthcare (Friday July 18, 2014)

    “To better reduce preventable errors, the Senate should establish a National Patient Safety Board, akin to the existing National Transportation Safety Board, testified John James, Ph.D.”

  • Medical Errors Third Leading Cause of Death, Senators Told
    Source: Health Leaders (Thursday July 17, 2014)

    At senate hearing testimony from Lisa McGiffert (Consumers Union) and others about the need for better reporting of medical errors and infections.

  • MLive hospital infection stories
    Source: MLive (Monday June 23, 2014)

    Link to MLive coverage of hospital infections in Michigan.

  • How safe is your hospital? Chance of serious complications varies widely
    Source: Dallas Morning News (Saturday June 21, 2014)

    Dallas Morning News investigation of Texas hospital complication rates.

  • Hospitals To Pay Big Fines For Infections, Avoidable Injuries
    Source: NPR (Monday June 23, 2014)

    NPR coverage of a new KHN report on Medicare’s penalty program for hospital infections and other complications. Consumers Union’s Lisa McGiffert quoted.

  • 4 Seattle hospitals could be penalized over patient care
    Source: Seattle Times (Sunday June 22, 2014)

    Some Puget Sound area hospitals may face penalties under the federal government’s toughest effort yet to crack down on infections and other patient injuries.

  • Six St. Louis area hospitals face Medicare crackdown on patient injuries
    Source: St. Louis Post-Dispatch (Sunday June 22, 2014)

    Six St. Louis area hospitals may face penalties beginning this fall based on Medicare’s assessment of infection rates and other hospital-acquired injuries. Local hospitals react to Medicare’s penalty program for avoidable patient harm.

  • Patient Injuries: Hospitals Most Likely To Be Penalized By Medicare
    Source: Kaiser Health News (Sunday June 22, 2014)

    Kaiser Health News lists the 175 hospitals most likely to be penalized by Medicare for patient harm due to infections and other complications.

  • More Than 750 Hospitals Face Medicare Crackdown On Patient Injuries
    Source: Kaiser Health News (Sunday June 22, 2014)

    Kaiser Health News reports on an upcoming Medicare penalty program against hospitals for infections and complications. Consumers Union’s Lisa McGiffert quoted and CU story sharer Gerald Guske discusses a hospital infection experience.

  • J&J alerted in 2006 to device's surgical risks, doctor says
    Source: Pittsburgh Business Times (Friday May 30, 2014)

    Use of power morcellators (a device that grinds up tissue inside the body before removal) in minimally invasive surgery has been connected to spreading undetected uterine cancer.

  • FDA Warns Against Hysterectomy Technique That May Spread Cancer
    Source: ABC News (Thursday April 17, 2014)

    A Boston couple behind a campaign to stop doctors from performing a risky surgical procedure is applauding a new U.S. Food and Drug Administration warning against doctors performing the procedure called laparoscopic power morcellation. The FDA warned doctors that this procedure to uterus or uterine fibroids poses a risk of spreading unsuspected cancerous tissue beyond the uterus.

  • Misdiagnosed: Docs' Mistakes Affect 12 Million a Year
    Source: NBC News (Wednesday April 16, 2014)

    NBC News covers a new study that found at least 1 in 20 adult patients is misdiagnosed, which can lead to serious harm. Consumers Union’s Safe Patient Project Director Lisa McGiffert quoted.

  • 1 in 20 adult outpatients misdiagnosed, study reports
    Source: Boston Globe (Wednesday April 16, 2014)

    “At least 1 in 20 adult outpatients receives an incorrect diagnosis from their doctor, according to a new study. Sometimes the consequences are minor — calling something an “allergy” when it’s really a cold, for instance. But in more than 6 million patients a year in the United States, such misdiagnosis could have major consequences, such as a dangerous delay in cancer treatment.”

  • 12 million Americans misdiagnosed each year
    Source: CBS News (Thursday April 17, 2014)

    “Each year in the U.S., approximately 12 million adults who seek outpatient medical care are misdiagnosed, according to a new study published in the journal BMJ Quality & Safety. This figure amounts to 1 out of 20 adult patients, and researchers say in half of those cases, the misdiagnosis has the potential to result in severe harm.”

  • At least 1 in 20 outpatients misdiagnosed every year, study shows
    Source: FoxNews (Thursday April 17, 2014)

    At least 1 in 20 adults is misdiagnosed in outpatient clinics in the U.S. every year, a new study published in the journal BMJ Quality & Safety indicates.

  • 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.

  • DPH Issues Nearly $300K in Penalties to Five California Hospitals for Undisclosed Reasons
    Source: California Healthline (Friday February 7, 2014)

    Why did the California Department of Public Health issue fines against five California hospitals? The public would like to know.

  • ePatientDave for Forbes: This 15 Year Old Absolutely Nails What "Patient Centered" Is - And Isn't
    Source: Forbes (Thursday January 23, 2014)

    A must-watch video of a 15-year-old patient.

  • Ten Patient Stories: When Attorneys Refused My Medical Malpractice Case
    Source: ProPublica (Thursday January 9, 2014)

    Real stories shared with ProPublica about how patients and family members aren’t able to carry out malpractice cases because the system often discriminates against them.

  • 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:

  • Patient Harm: When An Attorney Won’t Take Your Case
    Source: ProPublica (Monday January 6, 2014)

    ProPublica reports on an Emory study that found three out of four medical malpractice attorneys reject more than 90 percent of the cases they screen. Most harmed patients get no legal representation, primarily for economic reasons (i.e. the patients don’t make enough money).

  • Report: Where You Live Shapes Kids’ Care
    Source: Reporting on Health (Wednesday December 18, 2013)

    New study by the Dartmouth Atlas Project finds that, in the states of northern New England at least, where a child lives influences the kind of care that child receives. And some of the differences are dramatic and contributing to the widespread problem of medical overtreatment.

  • How To Stay Safe During Your Next Hospital Visit
    Source: KUOW Seattle NPR (Monday December 9, 2013)

    Interview with manager of Consumers Union’s Safe Patient Project, Lisa McGiffert, on hospital Safety.

  • How Safe is Your Hospital in Washington
    Source: (Thursday January 23, 2014)

    Local NPR station in Seattle has posted an interactive maps, tables and charts of hospital performance measures.

  • Efforts underway to prevent hepatitis C outbreaks
    Source: Boston Globe (Tuesday December 10, 2013)

    The Boston Globe reports: ” [New Hampshire] Lawmakers are considering a bill that would create a licensing system for medical technicians and a registry that other states could search. Another bill would require hospitals to test employees for drugs if there was a reasonable suspicion of drug use.”

  • To Make Hospitals Less Deadly, a Dose of Data
    Source: New York Times (Wednesday December 4, 2013)

    Tina Rosenberg for New York Times asks why patients know so little about their hospital. Available statistics on hospital safety don’t tell the public what they need to know to make informed decisions. Quotes by Lisa McGiffert, director of Consumers Union’s Safe Patient Project.

  • How A Recalled Medical Device Killed A Vet At Seattle's VA Hospital
    Source: KUOW (Thursday December 5, 2013)

    Seattle jazz musician Eddie Creed dies at a VA hospital after receiving a lethal morphine overdose from a recalled medical device.

  • Doctors Start C-Section on Not-Pregnant Patient
    Source: NBC New York (Friday April 27, 2012)

    Doctors at a Manhattan hospital began cutting into a patient for a C-section only to discover the patient was not pregnant, a News 4 I-Team investigation has found.

  • 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.

  • Carole Moss on Huffington Post Live: How To Stop Hospitals From Killing Us
    Source: Huffington Post Live (Tuesday December 3, 2013)

    Hear CA advocate Carole Moss, who founded Nile’s Project, discuss “how to stop hospitals from killing us.”

  • The Biggest Mistake Doctors Make
    Source: WSJ (Sunday November 17, 2013)

    Misdiagnoses are harmful and costly. But they’re often preventable.

  • Should Hospital Ratings Be Embraced — or Despised?
    Source: ProPublica (Monday October 28, 2013)

    “Editor’s Note: As we reported last month, preventable harm in hospitals is now the third-leading cause of death in the U.S. That makes it more important than ever to know if your hospital is doing a good job. But can patients trust the many web sites that rate hospitals? ProPublica’s Charles Ornstein compiled the post below to help journalists interpret the ratings, but the advice is just as critical for health care consumers. The bottom line: Use the ratings with caution.”

  • Article by Kathy Day: EMMC can’t bring back Heather Nichols, but it can do right by her family
    Source: Bangor Daily News (Friday November 1, 2013)

    Patient safety advocate Kathy Day discusses the tragic death of a woman who died shortly after giving birth in a Maine hospital.

  • Brochure: Conference For Healthcare Transparency & Patient Advocacy (Nov. 1, 2013 Four-Points Sheraton, Lexington, KY)
    Source: Health Watch USA (Friday October 18, 2013)

    Kentucky-based Health Watch USA will hold a “Conference For Healthcare Transparency & Patient Advocacy” in Lexington, KY featuring patient safety experts and advocates. For more info and registration, go here:

  • Conference For Healthcare Transparency & Patient Advocacy
    Source: Health Watch USA (Friday October 18, 2013)

    Kentucky-based Health Watch USA will hold a “Conference For Healthcare Transparency & Patient Advocacy” in Lexington, KY featuring patient safety experts and advocates. For more info and registration, go here:

    Conference brochure here:

  • Jeff Pitman: Legislation adds insult to injury in medical errors
    Source: The Cap Times (Friday October 11, 2013)

    Some bills in Wisconsin would keep information about medical errors secret from patients and family members; and would prevent patients from using the statements of health care providers if they admit fault, liability or responsibility.

  • Diagnostic Errors: Central to Patient Safety, Yet Still In the Periphery of Safety’s Radar Screen
    Source: Wachter's World (Wednesday October 9, 2013)

    Bob Wachter writes: “Yes, diagnostic errors have climbed onto the patient safety radar screen, but they’re out in the periphery, blinking a pale glow compared to the more centrally located shining stars (like checklists and CPOE) that capture everyone’s attention.”

  • Why The Weekend Is The Worst Time To Be Hospitalized
    Source: Forbes (Thursday October 10, 2013)

    If you were hospitalized Friday or over the weekend, chances are you would stay longer than patients admitted for the same problems Monday-Thursday

  • Looking For D.C.'s Best Hospitals? Here’s A Little Advice
    Source: Kaiser Health News (Friday October 11, 2013)

    Confused by all the different hospital ratings out there? Here’s some information you may want to consider before you put meaning to a hospital rating. Some of the raters charge licensing fees to hospitals that want to advertise their awards, and some raters provide consulting services to hospitals.

  • Robot Surgery Damaging Patients Rises With Marketing
    Source: Bloomberg (Monday October 7, 2013)

    Bloomberg reports on Colorado patients harmed by robotic surgery. Patients suffered torn or punctured arteries, objects left in the body, nerve damage and one patient died. Robotic surgeries are on the rise fueled by aggressive marketing by doctors, hospitals and the maker of the robot. But robotic surgeries, which are often used to perform hysterectomies, gall bladder removals, prostate cancer treatment, heart valve operations, haven’t been proven to offer significant health benefits compared to standard, less invasive procedures and often cost much more.

  • Local plastic surgeon calls syringe warning "inaccurate”
    Source: KREM (Tuesday October 1, 2013)

    KREM reports: “A licensing inspection at the Aesthetic Plastic Surgical Center found that staff had been improperly using syringes and drug vials and putting patients at risk of infection according to health officials.”

  • North Texas doctor fined over unneeded stent implants
    Source: Dallas Morning News (Wednesday September 18, 2013)

    Dallas Morning News reports: The Texas Medical Board has fined a McKinney heart doctor for implanting unnecessary stents into cardiac patients, according to records released by the board.

  • Readmission Rate 13% After Major Surgery
    Source: MedPage Today (Wednesday September 18, 2013)

    Study: About 13% of patients can expect to be readmitted within 30 days of discharge following major surgery.

  • How Many Die From Medical Mistakes in U.S. Hospitals?
    Source: ProPublica (Thursday September 19, 2013)

    An updated estimate says at least 210,000 patients die from medical mistakes in U.S. hospitals a year. ProPublica features study by patient safety advocate, John T. James, PhD.

  • Consumer Reports participates in a groundbreaking conference to address a growing healthcare problem
    Source: Consumer Reports (Monday September 16, 2013)

    Consumer Reports staff attended the 2013 Preventing Overdiagnosis conference hosted by The Dartmouth Institute for Health Policy & Clinical Practice, in partnership with the BMJ, Consumer Reports, and Bond University. Learn more about our work to educate consumers on the problem of overdiagnosis and overtreatment in healthcare.

  • Money May Be Motivating Doctors To Do More C-Sections
    Source: NPR (Friday August 30, 2013)

    NPR reports: “Obstetricians perform more cesarean sections when there are financial incentives to do so, according to a new study that explores links between economic incentives and medical decision-making during childbirth.”

  • 5 Cape Cod Hospital patients possibly exposed to fatal brain disease, like New Hampshire cases
    Source: Boston Globe (Thursday September 5, 2013)

    Boston Globe reports: “Five patients at Cape Cod Hospital may have been exposed to a rare, fatal brain disease as a result of spinal surgery performed with a potentially contaminated specialized instrument that also exposed patients at a New Hampshire hospital.”

  • Eight NH patients possibly exposed to fatal brain disease at Manchester hospital
    Source: Boston Globe (Wednesday September 4, 2013)

    Boston Globe reports: “As many as eight patients at a New Hampshire hospital may have been exposed to a rare, fatal brain disease from surgery equipment that previously was used on a patient who likely had the incurable disease, state health officials said Wednesday.”

  • Anatomy of a Tragedy
    Source: Texas Observer (Saturday September 28, 2013)

    Saul Elbein at The Texas Observer writes that it took more than a year for the Texas Medical Board to stop a doctor who had numerous complaints against him for patient deaths and botched surgeries.

  • One Step Closer To Getting Her Husband’s Heart Back
    Source: ProPublica (Friday August 30, 2013)

    Linda Carswell is one step closer to getting her husband’s heart back after almost 10 years of his death. According to ProPublica: “A Texas appeals court ruled Thursday against the hospital that has been blocking her from retrieving the heart of her husband, who had died unexpectedly while in the hospital’s care in 2004. The court also upheld a $2 million fraud judgment Carswell won against the hospital.”

  • Lap-Band surgery center tied to 1-800-GET-THIN loses accreditation
    Source: Los Angeles Times (Wednesday August 21, 2013)

    Following patient deaths, a Beverly Hills lap-band outpatient surgery center has lost its accreditation, which under California law, prohibits the center from performing surgeries on patients under general anesthesia. The operators of these lap-band surgery centers have disciplinary records with the California Medical Board and face a joint criminal investigation involving both state and federal law enforcement agencies.

  • Operating-Room Fire at Hospital Burns Patient, Prompts Changes
    Source: The Pilot News (Friday August 9, 2013)

    Operating-Room Fire at NC hospital burns patient, prompting CMS to review hospital’s safety plan

  • Fullerton hospital fined $100,000 for removing wrong kidney from cancer patient
    Source: KPCC (Thursday August 15, 2013)

    St. Jude Medical Center in Fullerton, Calif., has been fined for removing the wrong kidney from a cancer patient. Nine other California hospitals were fined for similar actions that put patient safety in jeopardy.

  • CDPH Issues Penalties to Ten Hospitals
    Source: CDPH (Thursday August 15, 2013)

    The California Department of Public Health (CDPH) issued ten penalties today to California hospitals along with fines totaling $675,000 after investigations found the facilities’ noncompliance with licensing requirements caused, or was likely to cause, serious injury or death to patients.

  • Patient at Halifax Hospital has surgery on wrong leg
    Source: Orlando Sentinel (Thursday August 15, 2013)

    A patient woke up from surgery at Halifax Hospital Medical Center last month to find her surgeon had operated on the wrong leg.

  • Sponges, Tools And More Left Inside Washington Hospital Patients
    Source: KUOW (Thursday August 1, 2013)

    KUOW reports: “About 30 times a year, a hospital in Washington state leaves a sponge or surgical instrument inside one of its patients. The accident known as a “retained foreign object” is one of the state’s most commonly reported medical mistakes.”

  • NC study cut hospital readmissions among state's sickest, poorest patients
    Source: News Observer (Wednesday August 7, 2013)

    News Observer reports: “A North Carolina study on reducing costly hospital visits cut readmissions by 20 percent among the sickest and poorest patients who are most prone to relying on hospitals for their medical care.”

  • Ky. voices: Disclosure key to curbing medical errors; UK board should demand it
    Source: Lexington Herald-Leader (Sunday August 11, 2013)

    Health Watch USA Director Kevin Kavanagh, member of Consumers Union’s Safe Patient Network, writes an op-ed on Kentucky patient harm. He writes: “The non-disclosure of problems and adverse events at UK hospital would be comparable to UK not providing basketball scores for badly played and lost games…”

  • Initiative reduces hospital-acquired infections, savings lives and money
    Source: KPCC (Monday August 5, 2013)

    A three-year effort to reduce hospital-acquired infections has prevented more than 3,500 patient deaths and saved more than $60 million dollars, according to a report released Monday by the statewide collaborative Patient Safety First.

  • Report on CA Patient Safety First initiative to reduce medical errors
    Source: CA Patient Safety First (Thursday August 1, 2013)

    To address the critical issue of patient safety in hospitals, five key industry stakeholders came together in 2010 to develop and implement Patient Safety First…a California Partnership for Health (PSF).

  • Armed With Bigger Fines, Medicare To Punish 2,225 Hospitals For Excess Readmissions
    Source: Kaiser Health News (Friday August 2, 2013)

    Kaiser Health News’ Jordan Rau reports on the reduced Medicare payments to hospitals for excess readmissions. Medicare identified 2,225 hospitals that will have payments reduced for a year starting on Oct. 1.

  • FBI investigating the shredding of records at hospital operated by indicted North Texas doctor
    Source: Dallas Morning News (Thursday August 1, 2013)

    Dallas Morning News reports: “The FBI is investigating the shredding of documents at a Central Texas hospital operated by Tariq Mahmood, the Dallas-area doctor indicted on charges of defrauding federal insurance programs.”

  • The gratitude of a terrified parent when kindness is shown
    Source: KevinMD (Monday August 5, 2013)

    Patient safety advocate, Pat Mastors, shares her story about her daughter’s hospital stay and reflecting on the kind actions of some healthcare workers they encountered.

  • A New, Evidence-based Estimate of Patient Harms Associated with Hospital Care
    Source: Journal of Patient Safety (Monday July 15, 2013)

    Consumers Union Safe Patient Project member, John T. James PhD, has published an article in the Journal of Patient Safety that delivers a new estimate of patient harms associated with hospital care.

  • Video: Is Your Medication Making You Sick?
    Source: WUSA9 (Wednesday July 24, 2013)

    Consumers Union’s Safe Patient Project mentioned in this WUSA9 story on medication errors.

  • Drs. Yanling Yu and Rex Johnson share their family's medical harm story with University of Washington
    Source: University of Washington (Sunday June 30, 2013)

    Washington Advocates for Patient Safety members, Yanling Yu and Rex Johnson, shared their family’s medical harm story with a University of Washington panel of over 100 future health professionals so they could learn how to keep patients safe through patient-centered care and shared-decision making.

  • Studies: Tired surgeons a risk to patient safety
    Source: Poughkeepsie Journal (Sunday July 21, 2013)

    While there are no regulations regarding how many operations an orthopedic surgeon can perform in a given day, multiple studies and articles show that a fatigued surgeon may put patients at risk.

  • Listen: Medical Error Expert Talks About Losing Leg
    Source: Health News Florida (Wednesday July 10, 2013)

    Dr. Frederick Southwick, University of Florida professor of medicine, literally wrote the book on preventing medical errors. The ironic part? He ended up losing his own leg because of a mistake during surgery.

  • Patients died amid federal, state regulatory inaction
    Source: Dallas Morning News (Saturday July 13, 2013)

    The Dallas Morning News investigates patient safety and allegations of lax supervision of doctors in training at the public institutions.

  • Hospital Errors and Patient Safety Issues
    Source: Guardian Express (Tuesday July 9, 2013)

    Consumers Union’s Safe Patient Project director Lisa McGiffert quoted in Guardian Express about the lack of data on hospital errors.

  • St. Joe's "dead" patient awoke as docs prepared to remove organs
    Source: Syracuse Post-Standard (Sunday July 7, 2013)

    The NY state Health Department fined St. Joseph’s Hospital $22,000 for nearly removing organs from a patient who was alive in 2009. Consumers Union’s Safe Patient Project Director, Lisa McGiffert, quoted.

  • American Way of Birth, Costliest in the World
    Source: New York Times (Sunday June 30, 2013)

    New York Times reports on the rising price of maternity care and high out of pocket costs for expecting mothers.

  • Rosemary Gibson's New York Times letter to the editor re The High Cost of Childbirth in the U.S.
    Source: New York Times (Sunday July 7, 2013)

    Rosemary Gibson, author of The Treatment Trap and member of CU’s Safe Patient Project, writes to New York Times about the “price gouging of pregnant women.”

  • Kentucky and online audiences hear discussion of proposed system for patients to report medical errors; comments due July 8
    Source: Kentucky Health News (Saturday June 22, 2013)

    “The Obama administration is creating a new system for patients to report medical mistakes because existing systems fail to do so, and if all goes as planned, the pilot program will launch this fall, a federal official told a Health Watch USA meeting in Kentucky and online Wednesday night.”

  • Doctors perform thousands of unnecessary surgeries
    Source: USA Today (Thursday June 20, 2013)

    A USA TODAY study found that tens of thousands of times each year, patients undergo surgery they don’t need. Article quotes Consumer Reports’ John Santa and Safe Patient Project members, Rosemary Gibson and Patty Skolnik.

  • Sleep Deprivation in Hospitals Is a Real Problem
    Source: The Atlantic (Wednesday June 19, 2013)

    Physician Peter Ubel makes a compelling case for patients needing more sleep to recover from their illnesses, and how hospitals can change their procedures in order to improve patients’ sleep. He writes that ” sleep disturbance is a leading cause of hospital complications, such as falls and delirium. “

  • Reviews Highlight Harmful Prescriptions And Unnecessary Surgeries
    Source: Kaiser Health News (Thursday June 20, 2013)

    Kaiser Health News Daily Report: “ProPublica takes a look at a Medicare drug program report detailing the prescription writing practices of some physicians while USA Today reports on its findings regarding unnecessary surgeries based on a review of government records and medical databases.”

  • UPDATE 1-U.S. federal judge lifts ban on public access to Medicare data
    Source: Reuters (Friday May 31, 2013)

    Amazing step forward for transparency. Doctors and hospitals that overtreat can be identified publicly now.

  • NYT Op-Ed: My Near Miss
    Source: New York Times (Tuesday May 28, 2013)

    Danielle Ofri writes in NYT: “There remains a black hole of near misses, of uncharted errors — a black hole of shame that prevents caregivers from coming forward.”

  • Three out of 20 endoscopes used to examine GI tracts and colons improperly cleaned
    Source: APIC (Friday June 7, 2013)

    “Three out of 20 flexible gastrointestinal (GI) endoscopes used for screening were found to harbor unacceptable levels of “bio dirt” – cells and matter from a patient’s body that could pose potential infection risk — according to a study of endoscopes used at five hospitals across the U.S.”

  • Survey of New York City Resident Physicians on Cause-of-Death Reporting, 2010
    Source: CDC (Thursday May 9, 2013)

    Study: NYC Resident Physicians Admit to Reporting Incorrect Causes of Death on Death Certificates

  • Reports: Maine ranks first in hospital safety, medical errors on decline but some still serious
    Source: Bangor Daily News (Tuesday May 14, 2013)

    Maine hospitals receive high marks on hospital safety according to Leapfrog Group ratings. Patient safety activist Kathy Day, member of CU’s Safe Patient Project network, quoted.

  • Q&A with Helen Haskell: Where is the Patient Safety Movement Going?
    Source: Islands of Excellence (Wednesday May 1, 2013)

    Q&A with Helen Haskell: Where is the Patient Safety Movement Going?

  • It’s Time to Account for Medical Error in “Top Ten Causes of Death” Charts
    Source: Journal of Participatory Medicine (Wednesday April 24, 2013)

    Partial summary: “Medical error has been reliably identified as among America’s leading causes of death. Yet it never appears in “top ten causes of death” charts that periodically appear in the literature, and this author has never heard medical error mentioned during end-of-life public panels where providers address citizens interested in planning for peaceful demises. “

  • Owner of shuttered Terrell hospital charged with fraud
    Source: Dallas Morning News (Tuesday April 23, 2013)

    “Federal authorities have filed criminal charges against the owner of Renaissance Hospital Terrell, which was shut down in February after inspectors said reckless care caused the death of two patients and endangered others.”

  • Diagnostic errors are leading cause of successful malpractice claims
    Source: Washington Post (Monday April 22, 2013)

    “Diagnostic errors, not surgical misadventures, obstetrical mistakes or improperly delivered medications, are the main source of successful malpractice claims. However, little is being done to identify such errors and measure their effects.”

  • Brigham and Women’s airing medical mistakes
    Source: Boston Globe (Tuesday April 9, 2013)

    Brigham has created a monthly newsletter for its 16,000 employees re medical mistakes.

  • CDPH Fines San Diego Care Center in Death of Resident
    Source: CDPH (Monday March 25, 2013)

    A CDPH investigation found that inadequate care resulted in the death of a nursing home resident.

  • Patient Satisfaction May Not Be A Good Indicator Of Surgical Quality, Study Finds
    Source: Kaiser Health News (Tuesday April 16, 2013)

    Study found little relationship between a hospital’s patient satisfaction scores and most quality ratings.

  • Hospitals Profit From Surgical Errors, Study Finds
    Source: New York Times (Tuesday April 16, 2013)

    Hospitals make money from their own mistakes because insurers pay them for the longer stays and extra care that patients need to treat surgical complications that could have been prevented, a new study finds.

  • Study of Babies Did Not Disclose Risks, U.S. Finds
    Source: NYT (Wednesday April 10, 2013)

    The study was done to determine the appropriate amount of oxygen levels for premature.

  • Brigham and Women’s airing medical mistakes
    Source: The Boston Globe (Tuesday April 9, 2013)

    The hospital reports errors to staff through a monthly newsletter in an effort to reduce errors

  • When Harm in the Hospital Follows You Home
    Source: ProPublica (Thursday March 21, 2013)

    ProPublica Q&A with a professor who specializes in the aftermath of medical harm to patients.

  • Even A Doctor Can’t Keep His Father Safe In The Hospital
    Source: Boston NPR (Friday April 5, 2013)

    “On Saturday afternoon, he was given an infusion of a medicine intended for another patient — an infusion that was stopped only after I insisted that the nurse double-check the order.”

  • Discussion: How to Improve Accountability in Medicine?
    Source: ProPublica (Monday April 1, 2013)

    Consumers Union Safe Patient Project Director, Lisa McGiffert, participated in a live chat on how to increase accountability in medicine. You can read the chat transcript here.

  • Patty Skolnik quoted in Physician's Money Digest
    Source: Physician's Money Digest (Monday March 25, 2013)

    Founder of Citizens for Patient Safety, Patty Skolnik, member of CU’s Safe Patient Project, quoted in Physician’s Money Digest article about patient-centered care.

  • Malpractice claim in teen's wisdom teeth death settled out of court
    Source: Baltimore Sun (Wednesday April 3, 2013)

    Teen dies after wisdom teeth removal procedures, her parents sued for malpractice and the sides settled under confidential terms.

  • Anaheim General to close in May
    Source: OC Register (Tuesday March 26, 2013)

    The decision comes after years of patient safety violations and financial struggles that were followed by an unexpected recovery for the hospital.

  • 10 Medical Errors That Can Kill You in the Hospital
    Source: Psychology Today (Tuesday March 26, 2013)

    The 10 most common errors that can occur during your hospital stay. Quotes Safe Patient advocate, Patty Skolnik, founder of Citizens for Patient Safety.

  • Why Are Hospital Ratings All Over the Map?
    Source: Kaiser Health News (Monday March 18, 2013)

    Jordan Rau (Kaiser Health News) reports on hospital ratings, mentions Consumer Reports

  • When Harm in the Hospital Follows You Home
    Source: ProPublica (Thursday March 21, 2013)

    Conversation between victims of medical harm and a professor who specializes in dealing with the aftermath of patient harm for both patients and providers.

  • Oregon medical error mediation bill set to become law
    Source: Health care finance news (Thursday March 14, 2013)

    New law attempts to settle medical error issues through mediation.

  • Robosurgery Suits Detail Injuries as Death Reports Rise
    Source: Bloomberg (Tuesday March 5, 2013)

    Bloomberg reporter: Intestines fall out of woman’s vagina after robot surgery. A review of adverse incident reports sent to the Food and Drug Administration since 2009 shows an increase. As the popularity of robot surgery has grown, injury reports involving the procedures jumped to at least 115 in 2012 from 24 in 2009, while deaths rose to 30 from 11.

  • Intuitive Robot Probe Threatens Trend-Setting Surgeries
    Source: Bloomberg (Friday March 1, 2013)

    The safety of robots made by Intuitive Surgical Inc. (ISRG) is being probed by U.S. regulators, raising questions about the prospects of one of the hottest technologies in health care.

  • California woman dies after nurse refuses to perform CPR
    Source: Fox News (Monday March 4, 2013)

    CA woman dies in retirement home after nurse fails to perform CPR.

  • Missed diagnoses common in the doctor's office
    Source: Reuters (Monday February 25, 2013)

    Missed or wrong diagnoses are common in primary care and may put some patients at risk of serious complications, according to a U.S. study.

  • Op-ed: Losing My Leg to a Medical Error
    Source: New York Times (Tuesday February 19, 2013)

    University of Florida medical professor, Frederick Southwick, lost his leg due to a preventable medical error that had occurred 17 years earlier.

  • Shocking Medical Mistakes on Katie Couric Show
    Source: Katie Couric (Wednesday February 20, 2013)

    Patient safety advocate Lenore Alexander interviewed on the Katie Couric show about the medical error tragedy that ended her daughter Leah’s young life.

  • Calif. Nursing Home Chain Agrees to Settlement With State
    Source: California Healthline (Tuesday February 19, 2013)

    California Healthline reports: “As part of a settlement with the state attorney general’s office, Skilled Healthcare Group will pay $350,000 annually for two years to cover the cost of an independent monitor that will conduct surprise inspections of the nursing home chain and report back to the attorney general’s office on its compliance with state staffing laws.”

  • Use of Robots for Hysterectomy Soars, but with Little Benefit
    Source: MedPage Today (Tuesday February 19, 2013)

    MedPage Today reports: “Robotically assisted hysterectomy increased dramatically from 2007 to 2010, despite higher cost and similar complication rates compared with laparoscopic procedures, a review of data from more than 400 hospitals showed.”

  • Martha Deed: Survivors of medical error need crisis intervention
    Source: KevinMD (Saturday February 16, 2013)

    Martha Deed, patient safety advocate in NY, guest blogs for “Survivors [of medical error] need more assistance than they currently receive. Isolating patients and their families from circumstances surrounding medical errors does not promote healing of patients or their families any more than it helps traumatized medical staff.”

  • Care About Your Care Discharge Checklist & Care Transition Plan
    Source: Robert Wood Johnson Foundation (Thursday January 31, 2013)

    Asking questions, asking for a plan, and making sure you know what to do if your symptoms get worse can help you stay out of the hospital. If a patient’s hospital does not provide similar tools, the Care About Your Care discharge preparation checklist and care transition plan can help patients and caregivers keep track of their care plan after leaving the hospital.

  • Public Health Department Fines Seven Hospitals a Total of $775K
    Source: California Healthline (Thursday February 7, 2013)

    On Wednesday, the California Department of Public Health fined seven California hospitals a total of $775,000 for 10 violations that endangered patients’ health or led to their deaths, Payers & Providers reports.

  • Houston family sues after taping ants in breathing tube
    Source: Click2Houston (Monday February 25, 2013)

    Family films a video of ants and gnats crawling through their father’s breathing tube while he was in the hospital ICU. They wonder if he may have lived longer if he had proper care.

  • Video: The Doctors interview of Patty Skolnik, Citizens For Patient Safety
    Source: (Thursday January 31, 2013)

    Patty and David Skolnik tragically lost their only son, Michael, from complications after a brain surgery. Since Michael’s death, Patty founded Citizens for Patient Safety, an organization committed to take action to protect our health and safety from medical errors.

  • The president should make medical errors a priority -- to save both lives and money
    Source: Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Monday January 28, 2013)

    Letter to the editor on reporting medical errors by Paul H. O’Neill, secretary of the Treasury under President George W. Bush and is a former CEO of Alcoa Inc.

  • Surgical errors: In ORs, “never events” occur 80 times a week
    Source: American Medical News (Monday January 21, 2013)

    Dec 2012 study published in Surgery: About 80 times each week, U.S. patients undergoing surgery experience mistakes that safety advocates say never should happen

  • Hospital Facility Fees Raise Out-of-Pocket Costs for Medicare Patients
    Source: US News & World Report (Monday January 28, 2013)

    Two Op-Eds regarding the controversy over payments hospitals are receiving from facility fees have been published for public viewing today in US News & World Report. The Op-Ed in support of cutting hospital facility fees was written by Health Watch USA.

    The Opposing Op-Ed was by Richard Umbdenstock, the President and CEO of the American Hospital Association.

  • Despite Counsel, Victim Is Hindered by Tort Laws
    Source: New York Times (Thursday January 24, 2013)

    NYT reprint of Texas Tribune story on a woman who says she was the victim of a medical mistake and Texas tort reform laws.

  • How To Tell and Share Your Patient Story about Bad Medical Care
    Source: Patient Empowerment (Friday January 25, 2013)

    Trisha Torrey gives advice on how and where to share your medical harm story.

  • Va. agency pulls public access to hospital reports
    Source: Associated Press (Wednesday January 23, 2013)

    The Virginia Department of Health will no longer provide public access to its hospital complaint investigations after an Associated Press story found inconsistencies in the probe of a woman’s care at Inova Fairfax Hospital.

  • When Medical Error Occurs - Information for Patients and Families
    Source: TransparentHealthInc (Tuesday January 15, 2013)

    “This short film by Transparent Health and SolidLine Media shares information with the healthcare consumer on what happens when a medical error occurs.”

  • When hospitals make mistakes with medications, they rarely tell the patient
    Source: Washington Post (Monday January 14, 2013)

    Patients and their families are rarely told when hospitals make mistakes with their medicines, according to a new Johns Hopkins study. The study also found that mistakes that harmed patients were more likely to happen in the ICU.

  • What a New Doctor Learned About Medical Mistakes From Her Mom’s Death
    Source: ProPublica (Wednesday January 9, 2013)

    ProPublica’s Marshall Allen interviews new doctor about patient safety lessons she learned from her mother’s death.

  • Medical Malpractice Tort Reform Signed into Law in Michigan
    Source: Herald Online (Wednesday January 9, 2013)

    New Michigan law is a tremendous win for Michigan’s physicians” NOT Michigan patients who may have been harmed by physician care.

  • Feds Release Nursing Home Inspections, Free of Censor’s Marks
    Source: ProPublica (Wednesday January 9, 2013)

    ProPublica filed a Freedom of Information request with CMS and received the unredacted narratives from the nursing home deficiency reports. They have posted them on their website.

  • A Regional Analysis Of Which Hospitals Got Rewards, Penalties Based On Quality
    Source: Kaiser Health News (Wednesday January 9, 2013)

    KHN: In Medicare’s new program that ties about $1 billion in payments to quality of care, hospitals in Fort Wayne, Ind., are faring the best on average while hospitals in Washington, D.C., are doing the worst, according to a Kaiser Health News analysis of the country’s 212 major health care markets.

  • New law to allow a hospital pharmacy to operate a centralized hospital packaging pharmacy

    New addresses avoiding adverse events by barcoding drug doses that are prepared for individual unit packaging by the central pharmacy of sister hospitals. Hospitals must be certified by the board of pharmacy:

  • Communication failures lead to rampant discharge medication errors
    Source: Fierce Healthcare (Wednesday December 5, 2012)

    “81% of patients experience provider error, don’t understand meds”

  • Medical Error Reports Only Track Most Serious Problems
    Source: Indiana Public Media (Wednesday December 5, 2012)

    The medical error reporting system only reports the most serious medical errors.

  • Off-Label Drug Marketing Is 'Free Speech,' Court Rules
    Source: ABC News (Wednesday December 5, 2012)

    A federal appeals court ruled that a drug company’s marketing of a drug “off label” which means it is marketing the drug for a use not approved by the FDA, is a matter of free speech.

  • Wall Street Journal video: Study: Surgeons Make 4,000 Mistakes a Year
    Source: Wall Street Journal (Wednesday December 19, 2012)

    Researchers at Johns Hopkins say that despite efforts to improve surgical safety, 4,044 so-called “never events,” including leaving a foreign object such as a sponge inside a patient’s body, occur in the U.S. each year. Laura Landro reports on The News Hub.

  • Woodbury hospital lawsuit pits privacy rights vs. cover-up allegations
    Source: Star Tribune (Sunday January 6, 2013)

    Hospital wanted damaging notes destroyed, ex-worker says.

  • Why Patients Don’t Report Medical Errors
    Source: ProPublica (Tuesday September 25, 2012)

    ProPublica’s Marshall Allen writes: “Many of the people who suffer harm while undergoing medical care do not file formal complaints with regulators. The reasons are numerous: They’re often traumatized, disabled, unaware they’ve been a victim of a medical error or don’t understand the bureaucracy.”

  • ProPublica patient safety article featuring Veronica James
    Source: ProPublica (Friday January 4, 2013)

    ProPublica features patient safety advocate Veronica James, whose mother suffered a bedsore and had her breathing tube accidentally dislodged in a long-term acute-care hospital. James believes poor care contributed to her 90-year-old mother’s death.

  • Op-ed: The culture of health-care secrecy harms patients
    Source: Seattle Times (Wednesday December 26, 2012)

    A former nurse writes about the inside knowledge she had about a doctors and other nurses concerning their performance history, including medical errors. But patients don’t have access to that same information.

  • Double Dipping: Four Tips from USA TODAY’s Injection Safety Investigation
    Source: Reporting on Health (Monday December 31, 2013)

    Bill Heisel comments on the USA Today report on needle injection safety.

  • HHS Stops Short Of Calling For Safety Regulation Of Digital Records
    Source: Kaiser Health News (Friday December 21, 2012)

    Jay Hancock for Kaiser Health News: “The Obama administration Friday urged cooperation between software companies and caregivers to prevent patient harm caused by faulty electronic records. But it stopped short of calling for regulation or a federal requirement to report computer mistakes that pose a risk to patients.”

  • Doctors leaving foreign objects in patients
    Source: Baltimore Sun (Monday January 28, 2013)

    Johns Hopkins study: U.S surgeons leave a foreign object in a patient at least 39 times a week.

  • Dirty medical needles put tens of thousands at risk in USA
    Source: USA Today (Friday December 28, 2012)

    As drug-resistant superbugs and increasingly virulent viruses menace the medical world, patients face a threat that was supposed to die with the advent of the disposable syringe more than 50 years ago: dirty needles.

  • HHS Stops Short Of Calling For Safety Regulation Of Digital Records
    Source: Kaiser Health News (Friday December 21, 2012)

    The Obama administration is leaving it up to caregivers and software companies to prevent patient harm due to mistakes in electronic health records.

  • Medicare Lists Hospital Quality Bonuses
    Source: Medpage Today (Saturday December 22, 2012)

    “The revised payments, which will begin in January, mark the federal government’s most extensive effort yet to hold hospitals financially accountable for what happens to patients.”

  • Why Rating Your Doctor Is Bad For Your Health
    Source: Forbes (Monday January 21, 2013)

    Kai Falkenberg for Forbes: “Many doctors, in order to get high ratings (and a higher salary), overprescribe and overtest, just to “satisfy” patients, who probably aren’t qualified to judge their care. And there’s a financial cost, as flawed survey methods and the decisions they induce, produce billions more in waste.”

  • Immediate Jeopardy Fines for 12 California Hospitals
    Source: Health Leaders Media (Friday December 21, 2012)

    CA health officials fined 10 hospitals found to cause errors that led to 4 patients dying and others seriously injured.

  • Hospital Care '3,000 Times Less Safe Than Air Travel,' Says TJC Chief
    Source: Health Leaders Media (Thursday December 20, 2012)

    The Joint Commission leader: Hospital care is almost 3,000 times less safe than air travel.

  • Johns Hopkins malpractice study: Surgical 'never events' occur at least 4,000 times per year
    Source: Johns Hopkins Medicine (Wednesday December 19, 2012)

    Researchers advocate public reporting of mistakes

  • Two Deaths, Wildly Different Penalties: The Big Disparities in Nursing Home Oversight
    Source: ProPublica (Monday December 17, 2012)

    Two residents died after lapses in nursing homes. The punishments were very different. Read this ProPublica story to find out why.

  • Why Can’t Linda Carswell Get Her Husband’s Heart Back?
    Source: Readers Digest (Monday December 10, 2012)

    Reader’s Digest runs Marshall Allen’s (ProPublica) story on Linda Carswell, wife of Jerry Carswell: After an inconclusive autopsy report, Jerry Carswell’s heart remains in a refrigerated cabinet in a hospital lab instead of being buried with him. In a mission to get it back, his wife learned the truth about the shocking flaws in the death investigation process.

  • Med Spa Dangers
    Source: The Doctors (Wednesday December 5, 2012)

    The Doctors’ Investigative Reporter, Melanie Woodrow, examines the alarming cases of two Tennessee women who were left severely burned after undergoing a common laser treatment at two different med spas.

  • Hospitals: The cost of admission
    Source: CBS News (Sunday December 2, 2012)

    CBS’s “60 minutes” covers the high costs of health care in the U.S. It’s estimated that $210 billion a year — about 10 percent of all health expenditures — goes towards unnecessary tests and treatments and a big chunk of that comes right out of the pockets of American taxpayers in the form of Medicare and Medicaid payments.

  • Bed sores, surgery mistakes lead errors in report on Indiana hospitals
    Source: (Monday November 19, 2012)

    “The report collects information from 291 hospitals, ambulatory surgery centers, abortion clinics, and birthing centers from around the state. It includes 28 reportable adverse events, including falls, medication errors and some criminal actions.”

  • Indiana shows slight decrease in medical errors
    Source: (Monday November 19, 2012)

    The Indiana State Health Department’s 2011 Medical Errors report is now available at

  • UCLA Medical Center gets failing grade on patient safety
    Source: LA Times (Wednesday November 28, 2012)

    Leapfrog’s national report on patient safety gives Ronald Reagan UCLA Medical Center an “F.” Leapfrog is national organization that scores hospital safety.

  • Hospitals Face Pressure to Avert Readmissions
    Source: New York Times (Monday November 26, 2012)

    “Medicare last month began levying financial penalties against 2,217 hospitals it says have had too many readmissions. Of those hospitals, 307 will receive the maximum punishment, a 1 percent reduction in Medicare’s regular payments for every patient over the next year, federal records show.”

  • Video: Company accused of giant Medicare fraud
    Source: CNN (Thursday November 29, 2012)

    Company that runs 2,000 US dialysis clinics accused of giant Medicare fraud

  • Doctors appeal rulings that diminish error reporting protections
    Source: American Medical News (Monday November 19, 2012)

    KY court cases calls into question medical error reporting in Kentucky.

  • Inova Fairfax Hospital investigation shows dizzying bureaucracy
    Source: Associated Press (Monday October 1, 2012)

    “Sharon Van Putten’s final months were spent in misery at a highly rated northern Virginia hospital. During a family visit to northern Virginia, Van Putten’s chronic back problems flared up and she ended up having spinal surgery at Inova Fairfax Hospital. She came out of surgery a paraplegic.”

  • Morphine dosage error kills elderly patient
    Source: kirotv (Monday November 19, 2012)

    Washington state elderly woman dies due to an overdose of morphine by an unlicensed, unregistered nurse in a nursing home. Yanling Yu of Washington Advocates for Patient Safety quoted.

  • Ky. Voices: Consumers must scrutinize details of hospital rankings
    Source: Lexington Herald-Leader (Wednesday November 7, 2012)

    Op-ed by Dr. Kevin Kavanagh and Daniel Saman with Health Watch USA. They write: “There are many ranking systems, and all give widely different results and are dependent upon widely varying measures of quality. Some are highly dependent upon reputation of the institution and types of treatment available, others on the ability to follow treatment plans, patient satisfaction or patient outcomes. For patients, it is the outcome that’s most important.”

  • Unnecessary surgery show
    Source: White Coat, Black Art (Saturday November 3, 2012)

    30 minute program about unnecessary surgery, including hip and knee replacements.

  • 10 shocking medical mistakes
    Source: CNN (Monday November 5, 2012)

    CNN gallery of stories of ten patient cases involving medical mistakes.

  • Prostate Patients Suffer as Money Overwhelms Best Therapy
    Source: Bloomberg (Monday November 5, 2012)

    Bloomberg’s Kevin Thrash reports on some urologists in Monterey County, California, who are being investigated by U.S. Department of Health and Human Services for possibly putting profits ahead of patients.

  • Reporting errors leads to workflow improvements
    Source: Fierce Healthcare (Wednesday October 31, 2012)

    Reporting adverse events positively influences the perception of safety and may reduce medical errors in large, multi-site health systems, according to a new study from researchers at the Perelman School of Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania.

  • Economic impact of preventable medical errors significantly higher than anticipated; May reach $1 trillion dollars
    Source: Wolters Kluwer (Wednesday October 17, 2012)

    According to an article published in the current issue of Wolters Kluwer’s Journal of Health Care Finance preventable medical errors may cost the U.S. economy up to $1 trillion dollars in lost human potential and contributions. That estimate is exponentially higher than previous studies, which focused solely on direct medical expenses associated with preventable medical errors.

  • Resource: Five Safe Surgery Tips for Patients
    Source: ProPublica (Monday October 15, 2012)

    Empowered Patient Coalition’s Dr. Julia Hallisy special to ProPublica. For more information, see their free Hospital Guide for Patients and Families:

  • Opinion: Protect patients' rights, protect patients' lives
    Source: CNN (Friday October 12, 2012)

    Mary Alice McLarty special for CNN: Eliminating patients’ rights is not the answer to the nation’s health care problems.

  • New System for Patients to Report Medical Mistakes
    Source: New York Times (Saturday September 22, 2012)

    The government says it will use information submitted by patients to make health care safer.

  • Video: Harms of Overtreatment
    Source: YouTube (Wednesday October 3, 2012)

    Investigative journalist Jeanne Lenzer with British Medical Journal investigates overtreatment at the heart of healthcare. Overly aggressive treatment is estimated to cause 30 000 deaths among Medicare recipients alone each year. Overall, unnecessary interventions are estimated to account for 10-30% of spending on healthcare in the US.

  • When Surgeons Leave Objects Behind
    Source: New York Times (Wednesday October 24, 2012)

    Every year, an estimated 4,000 cases of “retained surgical items,” as they are known in the medical world, are reported in the United States. These are items left in the patient’s body after surgery, and the vast majority are gauzelike sponges used to soak up blood. During a long operation, doctors may stuff dozens of them inside a patient to control bleeding.

  • Why Patients Don’t Report Medical Errors
    Source: ProPublica (Tuesday September 25, 2012)

    An estimated 15K Medicare patients died in a single month due to harm suffered in hospital.

  • Medicare fines over hospitals’ readmitted patients
    Source: Daily Herald (Monday October 1, 2012)

    As of Monday, Medicare will start fining hospitals that have too many patients readmitted within 30 days of discharge due to complications. The penalties are part of a broader push under President Barack Obama’s health care law to improve quality while also trying to save taxpayers money. Dr. John Santa, director of the Consumer Reports Health Ratings Center, quoted.

  • Despite lists, experts disagree on the 'best hospitals'
    Source: USA Today (Thursday September 27, 2012)

    Nearly 40% of consumers surveyed last year said they use hospital ratings to choose a health care facility, but there’s little agreement between the lists, raising questions about their value.

  • How to Stop Hospitals From Killing Us
    Source: Wall Street Journal (Friday September 21, 2012)

    Marty Makary for WSJ: Medical errors kill enough people to fill four jumbo jets a week. A surgeon with five simple ways to make health care safer.

  • 73% of patients worry about medical errors, poll says
    Source: American Medical News (Tuesday September 4, 2012)

    Nearly three-quarters of patients say they are concerned about the potential for medical errors, according to a poll that sheds light on public perceptions of patient safety.

  • Right there all along
    Source: Modern Healthcare (Saturday September 8, 2012)

    Latest IOM report lays out how to deliver safer, more effective care by using existing strategies, technology. Arthur Levin, director of the New York-based Center for Medical Consumers, served on the committee that produced To Err is Human and Crossing the Quality Chasm, as well as on the committee that authored this latest report.

  • CMS Requests Calif. Probe of Patient Deaths at UC-Davis
    Source: California Healthline (Monday September 10, 2012)

    UC-Davis confirmed that CMS has asked California officials to investigate the cases of three brain cancer patients at the university who died after receiving experimental treatment.

  • IOM Urges 10 Major Healthcare Fixes
    Source: HealthLeaders Media (Friday September 7, 2012)

    The Institute of Medicine releases new 382-page report calling for a major overhaul to remove inefficiencies and other barriers to quality care. The report issues 10 recommendations to improve quality of care, and use healthcare resources better.

  • Stop Ignoring Low Quality Ratings
    Source: HealthLeaders Media (Thursday September 6, 2012)

    Hospital executives should not ignore low quality ratings if their hospital gets a low score. Hospitals should not hesitate to “welcome this level of scrutiny and public accountability,” according to a former hospital chief operating officer.

  • $9.25M in Fines for Medical Errors Goes Largely Unspent in CA
    Source: HealthLeaders Media (Thursday September 6, 2012)

    California health officials has collected $9.25 million in fines from hospitals for medical errors – violations or deficiencies constituting an immediate jeopardy to the health and safety of a hospital patient. But the state hasn’t used most of the money to improve patient safety. Consumers Union’s Safe Patient Project director Lisa McGiffert quoted.

  • Hundreds of patients allege needless heart procedures done at Saint Joseph-London
    Source: Lexington Herald-Leader (Thursday September 6, 2012)

    Doctors performed unneeded heart procedures on hundreds of people in recent years at Saint Joseph-London hospital to unjustly enrich themselves, the patients have charged in a series of lawsuits.

  • Pen Bay Medical Center working to cut down high readmission rates after Medicare penalty
    Source: Bangor Daily News (Saturday August 25, 2012)

    Maine hospital penalized by Medicare for having high readmission rates.

  • 73% of patients worry about medical errors, poll says
    Source: American Medical News (Tuesday September 4, 2012)

    About two-thirds do outside research to double-check physician recommendations, but few patients inquire about clean hands.

  • The Strangest Show On Earth
    Source: The Denver Magazine (Saturday September 1, 2012)

    Article about Kent Thiry, the CEO of huge dialysis company Davita.

  • Medical Errors Harm Huge Number of Patients
    Source: US News and World Report (Tuesday August 28, 2012)

    US News and World Report piece on medical harm and Mary Brennan-Taylor’s advocacy efforts to improve patient safety.

  • GUESTWORDS: Hospital Homicides
    Source: East Hampton Star (Wednesday March 14, 2012)

    Richard Rosenthal writes: “It is past time that the government and public adopt the same sense of urgency with healthcare deaths.” Richard can be reached at

  • 28% of ICU patients have missed diagnosis
    Source: Fierce Healthcare (Tuesday August 28, 2012)

    More than one in four ICU patients had at least one missed diagnosis at death, according to a Johns Hopkins study of acute care patients.

  • Overtreatment Is Taking a Harmful Toll
    Source: New York Times (Monday August 27, 2012)

    NYT’s Tara Parker-Pope: “When it comes to medical care, many patients and doctors believe more is better. But an epidemic of overtreatment — too many scans, too many blood tests, too many procedures — is costing the nation’s health care system at least $210 billion a year, according to the Institute of Medicine, and taking a human toll in pain, emotional suffering, severe complications and even death.”

  • Pacific Health Settles Medicare, Medi-Cal Fraud Case for $16.5M
    Source: California Healthline (Monday August 27, 2012)

    Pacific Health Corporation has agreed to pay $16.5 million to resolve allegations that its hospitals recruited homeless patients and provided them with unnecessary health care services in an effort to defraud Medicare and Medi-Cal, according to court documents filed last week, the Los Angeles Times reports (Zavis, Los Angeles Times, 8/24).

  • ProPublica Tipsheet: How to Use Nursing Home Inspect
    Source: ProPublica (Tuesday August 14, 2012)

    ProPublica has designed Nursing Home Inspect to make it fast and easy to search thousands of recent government inspection reports from around the country, most since the beginning of 2011. Following are some tips to help you get the best results.

  • ProPublica: What We Found Using Nursing Home Inspect
    Source: ProPublica (Tuesday August 14, 2012)

    Drawing on government reports posted online last month, ProPublica launched Nursing Home Inspect — a tool that allows anyone to easily search and analyze the details of recent nursing home inspections, most completed since January 2011.

  • Guest Blog Post by CR's John Santa, MD MPH: Including Consumers In the Safety Journey
    Source: An Ounce of Evidence (Tuesday August 14, 2012)

    Consumer Reports’ John Santa MD MPH, explains Consumer Reports first hospital safety ratings and the importance of providing reliable information to consumers to improve health and reduce harm.

  • Inappropriate heart procedures are expensive and risky. And studies show thousands happen every year.
    Source: Washington Post (Wednesday August 8, 2012)

    Sarah Kliff at Washington Post writes: “Questionable cardiac procedures are at the center of a Justice Department investigation into HCA Holdings, the nation’s largest for-profit hospital chain. In an unusual move, HCA revealed the probe Monday ahead of publication of a New York Times story revealing that cardiologists in some of its hospitals, mainly in Florida, were unable to justify many procedures performed between 2002 and 2010.”

  • Hospital websites don’t tell whole story on robot-assisted surgery
    Source: American Medical News (Monday August 6, 2012)

    Fewer than 5% of hospitals include information on the costs and complications of robot-assisted gynecologic procedures. Many sites feature emotion-laden marketing language.

  • Most hospital adverse events not reported to state systems
    Source: American Medical News (Wednesday August 8, 2012)

    Hospitals reported only 8% of the adverse events that they were required to share with state authorities, said a July study from the Dept. of Health and Human Services’ Office of Inspector General.

  • To Stent Or Not To Stent, That Is In Question
    Source: ProPublica (Wednesday August 8, 2012)

    ProPublica’s Marshall Allen writes: “New accusations that one of the nation’s largest hospital chains performed more than a thousand unnecessary heart procedures grabbed headlines this week, but the practice is far from unique in U.S. health care.”

  • Hospital Chain Inquiry Cited Unnecessary Cardiac Work
    Source: New York Times (Monday August 6, 2012)

    Hospital Chain Inquiry Cited Unnecessary Cardiac Work. The New York Times reviewed company internal documents that revealed some doctors were unable to justify many of the cardiac procedures they were performing. In some cases, the doctors made misleading statements in medical records that made it appear the procedures were necessary, according to internal reports.

  • I-Team: Thousands of NY Hospital Mistakes Kept Secret
    Source: NBC New York (Friday August 3, 2012)

    Hospitals have confidentially reported more than 40,000 “adverse events” since 2007, including wrong-site or wrong-patient surgeries, unexpected deaths, and delays or omissions of treatment

  • Safety advisers say state buried report
    Source: Times Union (Tuesday August 28, 2012)

    A report designed to reduce hospital errors issued by an expert panel on patient safety was ignored by NY Department of Health according to panel members.

  • The Short Life and Lonely Death of Sabrina Seelig
    Source: New York Times (Tuesday August 28, 2012)

    Young woman living in NY dies in the hospital after she was given a strong sedative and may not have been properly monitored. Her mother tells the NY Times: “No one should go to a hospital without someone with you — no one,” she said. “Don’t go unless somebody at least knows you’re there.”

  • Op-Ed: More Treatment, More Mistakes
    Source: New York Times (Tuesday July 31, 2012)

    Dr. Sanjay Gupta: Doctors make mistakes. They may be mistakes of technique, judgment, ignorance or even, sometimes, recklessness. Regardless of the cause, each time a mistake happens, a patient may suffer. We fail to uphold our profession’s basic oath: “First, do no harm.”

  • Panel Advises Against Routine Treadmill Stress Tests
    Source: New York Times (Monday July 30, 2012)

    For people at higher risk of heart disease, a government panel found there was “insufficient evidence” to determine the benefits and harms of screening with the EKG test — either at rest or during exercise — and advised that it be considered case by case basis.

  • Man accused in hepatitis C outbreak was fired from Arizona hospital
    Source: CNN (Friday July 27, 2012)

    The man accused of infecting patients with hepatitis C at a New Hampshire hospital was fired from a job in Arizona two years ago after testing positive for cocaine and marijuana, a public relations agency for Arizona Heart Hospital said Thursday.

  • Patient harm at Maine hospitals going unreported, studies find
    Source: Bangor Daily News (Tuesday July 24, 2012)

    Maine counted 163 such events in 2011, largely “unanticipated deaths,” according to a June report that found “serious under-reporting” in the state.

  • Manhattan heart-transplant patient dies after 'restricted' doc's botched liposuction
    Source: NY Post (Sunday July 22, 2012)

    Manhattan woman dies after botched liposuction.

  • Why Can’t Medicine Seem to Fix Simple Mistakes?
    Source: ProPublica (Friday July 20, 2012)

    ProPublica writes about several instances of patient harm in the aftermath of the recent death of a 12-year old boy from septic shock. Why can’t hospitals get it right?

  • HHS: Few Adverse Events in Hospitals Were Reported to State Adverse Event Reporting Systems
    Source: U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (Thursday July 19, 2012)

    HHS OIG report: An estimated 60 percent of adverse and temporary harm events nationally occurred at hospitals in States with reporting systems, yet only an estimated 12 percent of events nationally met State requirements for reporting. Hospitals reported only 1 percent of patient harm events.

  • HHS: Hospitals ignoring requirements to report errors
    Source: USA Today (Friday July 20, 2012)

    Hospitals are ignoring state regulations that require them to report cases in which medical care harmed a patient, making it almost impossible for health care providers to identify and fix preventable problems, a report to be released today by the Department of Health and Human Services inspector general shows.

  • After Boy’s Death, Hospital Alters Discharging Procedures
    Source: New York Times (Wednesday July 18, 2012)

    NY hospital announces new procedures in direct response to a 12-year-old boy who died of sepsis 3 days after leaving the emergency room. The boy’s parents said the hospital failed to warn them about elevated bacterial levels in his blood, suggesting serious infection.

  • Death, Greed at the Dentist: American Children at Risk
    Source: ABC News (Thursday July 12, 2012)

    Video and news story about inadequately trained dentists sedating children, putting lives at risk to add tens of thousands in profit. More than a dozen children have died after being sedated by dentists, according to the Raven Maria Blanco Foundation, which seeks to alert parents to the potential dangers of the increasingly widespread use of oral sedatives on patients as young as 18-months old.

  • An Infection, Unnoticed, Turns Unstoppable
    Source: New York Times (Wednesday July 11, 2012)

    NYT reports on the medical harm story of Rory Staunton, a 12-year-old in New York who died of sepsis.

  • Op Ed: The Boy Who Wanted to Fly
    Source: New York Times (Saturday July 14, 2012)

    Story of medical error by Maureen Dowd.

  • California Hospitals Take Issue With Leapfrog Group's Recent Report Card on Patient Safety
    Source: California Healthline (Wednesday July 11, 2012)

    In a California Healthline Special Report by Kenny Goldberg, experts discussed a recent Leapfrog Group report card that gave more than 40% of California hospitals a grade of C or lower for patient safety.

  • Cardiac Arrest: Hospital Refuses to Give Widow her Husband's Heart
    Source: ProPublica (Friday July 13, 2012)

    Linda Carswell has been trying to get her husband’s heart so she can bury it with his body for eight years. Houston’s St. Joseph’s Medical Center won’t budge.

  • Blumenthal holds Conn. hearing on patient safety
    Source: CBS (Tuesday July 3, 2012)

    “Jean Rexford, founder and executive director of the Connecticut Center for Patient Safety, cited a 2010 federal report that determined preventable mistakes contributed to the deaths of as many as 950 Medicare beneficiaries in Connecticut hospitals.”

  • EMMC Plan to Outsource Dialysis to Private Firm the Subject of Hearing in Bangor
    Source: MPBN (Tuesday July 10, 2012)

    State regulators heard very different stories this morning about the risks of outsourcing dialysis services in the greater Bangor area to a private corporation.

  • Sale of EMMC dialysis clinics stirs concerns about patient safety
    Source: Bangor Daily News (Tuesday July 10, 2012)

    The proposed sale of Eastern Maine Medical Center’s dialysis clinics to a for-profit corporation roused concerns Tuesday about the safety of patients seriously ill with kidney disease.

  • Archives of Internal Medicine: Chronicle of an Unforetold Death
    Source: JAMA (Sunday July 1, 2012)

    Husband writes about the slew of problems in our health care system that surrounded the sudden and unexpected death of his wife, a well known leader in public health.

  • Report: Two Westchester Hospitals Rank Low In Safety
    Source: Greenburgh Daily Voice (Tuesday July 10, 2012)

    Some hospital patients in Westchester might not be receiving care that’s as safe as they may think, according to a Consumer Reports study that analyzed the safest hospitals in the nation and found that two county hospitals scored poorly.

  • Enhancing Medicare's Hospital-Acquired Conditions Policy to Encompass Readmissions
    Source: Medicare & Medicaid Research Review, 2012 2(2):E1–E15 (Tuesday July 3, 2012)
  • How do WNY hospitals rank in new list?
    Source: (Friday July 6, 2012)

    Consumer Reports is out with its new hospital safety ratings. How did hospitals in western New York stack up?

  • Consumer Reports Rates Hospital Safety
    Source: HealthLeaders Media (Thursday July 5, 2012)

    Cheryl Clark for HealthLeaders Media reports on Consumer Reports’ new scorecard for hospital safety.

  • Senator holds hearing on patient safety
    Source: Associated Press (Monday July 2, 2012)

    Founder and executive director of the Connecticut Center for Patient Safety, Jean Rexford, testifies at a hearing by the Senate Special Committee on Aging at the Legislative Office Building in Hartford on medical errors.

  • Op-ed: Patients dissatisfied with unnecessary, expensive care
    Source: Lexington Herald-Leader (Monday June 25, 2012)

    By Kevin T. Kavanagh and Daniel M. Saman. References available at:–healthcare-variation.htm

  • Helen Haskell on Medical Errors: New Tools Capture the Latest Tolls of Medical Harm
    Source: Reporting on Health (Tuesday June 19, 2012)

    Second part of a guest post by Helen Haskell on tracking medical harm. She discusses three modern studies that update the IOM numbers on medical harm.

  • Helen Haskell on Tracking Medical Errors: How We Err When Counting the Casualties of Medical Care
    Source: Reporting on Health (Friday June 15, 2012)

    Helen Haskell guest blogs for Reporting on Health with some thoughts on the number of people harmed by medical professionals.

  • Connecting the Dots: From Family Advocacy to Patient Safety in the Hospital
    Source: Martha Deed, PhD (Wednesday May 9, 2012)

    Martha Deed, retired psychologist from New York, offers tips for advocating for your loved ones in the hospital. This article appeared May 2, 2012 in Patient Safety InSight published by the National Patient Safety Foundation.

  • CDPH Issues Penalties to 13 Hospitals
    Source: California Department of Public Health (Friday June 1, 2012)

    The California Department of Public Health (CDPH) announced today that 13 California hospitals have been assessed administrative penalties and fines totaling $825,000 after a determination that the facilities’ noncompliance with licensing requirements caused, or was likely to cause, serious injury or death to patients.

  • 10 shocking medical mistakes
    Source: CNN (Sunday June 10, 2012)

    CNN reports on medical mistakes: patients’ stories.

  • Tired surgical residents may up error risk: study
    Source: Chicago Tribune (Monday May 21, 2012)

    A small study suggests surgeons in training are still tired enough to raise their risk of making significant errors, despite new guidelines limiting their work hours.

  • Why was Christian in Hadley, Mass? Reflections on the NEVER Meeting
    Source: Peggy Foundation (Monday April 30, 2012)

    Christian Lillis, co-founder of The Peggy Lillis Memorial Foundation, blogs about attending a gathering of the NorthEast Voices for Error Reduction (NEVER), a regional coalition of patient safety advocates.

  • Heart bypass deaths fall as care, reporting improve
    Source: San Francisco Chronicle (Tuesday April 24, 2012)

    Patient deaths after heart bypass surgeries at California hospitals plummeted 34 percent between 2003 and 2009, newly released statistics show. Public reporting has improved bypass surgery outcomes across the board over a six-year period.

  • DHSS Ambulatory Surgery Center Inspection Reports Now Available Online
    Source: NJ Department of Health and Senior Services (Wednesday February 1, 2012)

    Consumers can search the DHSS website at for a specific facility or facilities within a region of the state and review and compare inspection reports for the past three years. They can also view corrective action plans—where appropriate—that surgery centers have filed with the Department to rectify any deficiencies found during inspections.

  • Patient safety in Oregon hospitals
    Source: The Bulletin (Friday March 9, 2012)

    Five Oregon hospitals score worse than the national average on a key measure of patient safety for Medicare patients, according to an analysis released by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services.

  • A patient survival guide, from a mother who learned too late
    Source: The CT Mirror (Thursday March 8, 2012)

    Great information and advice by patient safety advocates, Helen Haskell (Mothers Against Medical Error) and Jean Rexford (Connecticut Center for Patient Safety).

  • Where We Live: Patient Safety
    Source: Your Public Media (Tuesday March 6, 2012)

    Podcast featuring Connecticut Center for Patient Safety director, Jean Rexford, and others, discussing many pressing patient safety issues including adverse events and what patients can do to improve hospital outcomes.

  • Yes, Real-Time Monitoring Would Have Saved Leah
    Source: Pittsburgh Healthcare Report (Thursday February 2, 2012)

    Article by Lenore Alexander, active member of Mothers Against Medical Errors, about her 11-year-old daughter Leah’s tragic death from hospital errors, including lack of monitoring. Since Leah’s death nearly 10 years ago, her mother has continued to ask many questions and learn why this happened to her daughter so that other lives can be saved.

  • Doctor, Did You Check Your Checklist?
    Source: Kaiser Health News (Monday January 30, 2012)

    Article on medical harm in the DC area. The District of Columbia reports on injuries occurring in the city’s hospitals, for example, but doesn’t say at which hospital the problems occurred. The public has a right to information about medical harm that is hospital-specific. Article includes tips by Consumer Reports and Dr. Peter Pronovost on how to stay safe in the hospital.

  • Hospital Errors Persist, State Probes Rare
    Source: Connecticut Health I-Team (Sunday January 29, 2012)

    An in-depth article analyzing the Connecticut adverse event report with quotes by advocate Jean Rexford, director of the Connecticut Center for Patient Safety. The new Adverse Event Report, prepared by the CT Department of Public Health, marks the first time that acute-care hospitals and other medical facilities have been publicly identified by name, as they report errors that caused harm to patients.

  • Federal suit claims Hamot, heart doctors defrauded Medicare
    Source: Erie Times-News (Sunday January 22, 2012)

    Heart doctors put heart stents into patients who didn’t need them.

  • Danger in delivery: Despite technology, U.S. trails entire western world in saving mothers
    Source: News-Register (Wednesday January 18, 2012)

    Cesarean sections, once considered emergency procedures, have become all but routine in the U.S. Experts say the procedure contributes to maternal deaths.

  • Number of adverse health events in Minnesota hospitals increases slightly in 2011

    Minnesota’s 2011 Adverse Events Report press release

  • Northeast Florida hospitals reducing readmissions
    Source: The Florida Times-Union (Wednesday January 11, 2012)

    Area hospitals working to reduce readmission rates, which are often due to poor discharge planning.

  • Editorial: Tracking medical errors remains stubbornly inconsistent
    Source: St. Louis Post-Dispatch (Wednesday January 11, 2012)

    Medical errors need to be tracked and reported to the public. Right now, Missouri consumers have no way of accessing medical harm information about their local hospital because there is no mandatory public reporting law in the state of Missouri.

  • Report Finds Most Errors at Hospitals Go Unreported
    Source: New York Times (Friday January 6, 2012)

    The inspector general estimated that more than 130,000 Medicare beneficiaries experienced one or more adverse events in hospitals in a single month.

  • Video: Hospital Mix-Ups More Common Than Thought
    Source: ABC News (Friday January 6, 2012)

    Hospital workers report only 1 in 7 medical mistakes on Medicare patients, according to a new study by the Office of Inspector General. Interview features patient safety activist, Mary Brennan-Taylor of New York, whose mother died from preventable hospital infection.

  • Report: Hospital Errors Often Unreported
    Source: ABC News (Friday January 6, 2012)

    A new report released Friday by the inspector general of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services found that more than 80 percent of hospital errors go unreported by hospital employees. The errors included overused or wrong medications, severe bedsores, hospital-based infections and even patient death.

  • Patients should have access to data on hospital errors
    Source: Consumer Reports (Monday January 9, 2012)

    A new study from the Office of the Inspector General finds that hospital employees report only 14 percent of medical errors and usually don’t change their practices to prevent future mistakes. The solutions arrived at in this report take us down the tired and worn out path of secret reporting of medical harm.

  • Gone Without a Case: Suspicious Elder Deaths Rarely Investigated
    Source: ProPublica (Wednesday December 21, 2011)

    ProPublica article on death investigation in America. ProPublica and PBS “Frontline” have identified more than three-dozen cases in which the alleged neglect, abuse or even murder of seniors eluded authorities. But for the intervention of whistleblowers, concerned relatives and others, the truth about these deaths might never have come to light.

  • Without Autopsies, Hospitals Bury Their Mistakes
    Source: ProPublica (Thursday December 15, 2011)

    Second story in Marshall Allen’s latest investigation for ProPublica on the state of hospital autopsies in America. It is about the implications of performing so few autopsies in hospitals. Decades ago, about half the people who died in the hospital were autopsied. Today, the average is five percent, but it’s close to zero in many hospitals in the country.

  • Why Can’t Linda Carswell Get Her Husband’s Heart Back?
    Source: ProPublica (Thursday December 15, 2011)

    First story in Marshall Allen’s latest investigation for ProPublica on the state of hospital autopsies in America. It is a tragic tale of a woman whose husband died unexpectedly after being admitted to a hospital with kidney stones.

  • Indiana medical errors hit five-year high
    Source: Clinical Advisor (Tuesday December 20, 2011)

    The number of medical error reports in Indiana hit an all time high in 2010, according to data collected by the Indiana Department of Health. The most common types of errors reported were pressure ulcers followed by foreign objects left in surgery patients.

  • Ventilator errors are linked to 119 deaths
    Source: Boston Globe (Sunday December 11, 2011)

    An analysis of federal safety reports by the Globe shows that at least 119 people died nationwide between 2005 and May 2011 because of such alarm-related problems. And a separate review by the US Food and Drug Administration uncovered about 800 alarm-related adverse events involving ventilator patients in 2010 alone. Many were deemed ?preventable?? or due to ?human error.?? An unknown number resulted in injuries or deaths.

  • Public Health Department Fines 14 Hospitals for Patient Safety Errors
    Source: California Healthline (Friday December 9, 2011)

    The California Department of Public Health announced it was imposing $850,000 in fines on 14 hospitals for medical errors that caused or were likely to cause serious patient injury or death.

  • Immediate Jeopardy: 14 CA Hospitals Fined $850,000
    Source: HealthLeaders Media (Monday December 12, 2011)

    Another 14 California hospitals have been ordered to pay fines totaling $850,000 in the latest round of medical errors involving immediate jeopardy to patients, state health officials said last week.

  • Hospitals Tumble on Medicare Order for Heart Procedure Audit
    Source: San Francisco Chronicle (Sunday December 4, 2011)

    “The Center for Medicare and Medicaid Services will require pre-payment audits on hospital stays for cardiac care, joint replacements and spinal fusion procedures, according to the American College of Cardiology in a letter to members. The program means hospitals won’t receive payment for stays that involve cardiac care or orthopedic treatment until auditors have examined the patient records and confirmed that the care was appropriate.”

  • Patient Safety Advocates Start New England Watchdog Group
    Source: CT Health I-Team (Tuesday November 22, 2011)

    New England patient safety activists form New England Voices For Error Reduction (NEVER), a group that aims to work regionally for safe health care.

  • Bad Medicine
    Source: The Texas Observer (Thursday November 10, 2011)

    The Texas Observer reports on the history of a Texas doctor who plead guilty to charges of retaliation and misuse of information after prosecuting two nurse whistleblowers.

  • Delay In Results May Have Led To Baby's Death
    Source: KMGH Denver (Sunday November 13, 2011)

    Couple believes their newborn died from a hospital’s delay in test results.

  • 4-Year-Old Dies During Dental Surgery
    Source: KCRA (Tuesday November 15, 2011)

    4-year-old dies during dental surgery and his family is searching for answers to find out what led to his death.

  • Goodbye to Ohio’s hospital performance comparison website?
    Source: Medcity (Friday October 28, 2011)

    The Ohio Hospital Association is trying to repeal Ohio’s hospital public reporting law that requires disclosure of important patient safety information to Ohio consumers.

  • Woman fights to end medical errors
    Source: WIVB (Thursday November 3, 2011)

    Part 2: New York patient safety advocate, Mary Brennan-Taylor, interviewed about the death of her mother due to multiple medical errors and her work giving patient safety lectures at the University at Buffalo. Part 1 here.

  • Medicare report: Improve tracking of serious hospital errors
    Source: USA Today (Tuesday November 1, 2011)

    Medicare report: Only 28 of 88 immediate jeopardy patient safety complaints reported to Medicare.

  • Woman's death attributed to medical error
    Source: WIVB (Tuesday November 1, 2011)

    New York patient safety advocate, Mary Brennan-Taylor, interviewed about the death of her mother due to multiple medical errors and her work giving patient safety lectures at the University at Buffalo.

  • 'Never events' at hospitals go unnoticed
    Source: News-Leader (Saturday October 29, 2011)

    Hospital patients and their relatives in Missouri and most of the United States have no way of learning about most adverse events. Most adverse events aren’t publicly reported.

  • Harbor-UCLA Medical Center cited for safety violations
    Source: Los Angeles Times (Saturday October 29, 2011)

    Harbor-UCLA Medical Center has failed to keep its operating rooms clean and safe and to protect its patients from possible infection, according to federal inspection reports recently released to The Times.

  • Editorial: Public needs more details on patient safety at hospitals
    Source: Dallas Morning News (Monday October 17, 2011)

    The public needs more information about how well their hospitals and doctors perform on ensuring the safety of their patients.

  • Deficiencies at Grady Memorial Prompt CMS Review
    Source: HealthLeaders Media (Tuesday October 18, 2011)

    Another major public hospital cited for serious deficiencies by CMS prompted by the death of a 60-year-old patient.

  • How safe is your hospital? New website lets you check
    Source: (Monday October 17, 2011)

    Medicare’s Hospital Compare website allows the public to see how their hospital is doing on a range of patient safety and quality measures. The data provides a snapshot of how hospitals are performing on certain quality measures. Medicare will eventually use this patient outcomes information to base payments to hospitals.

  • Things May Get Worse For ‘Worst’ Hospitals, Study Warns
    Source: Kaiser Health News (Wednesday October 5, 2011)

    New study of “worst” hospitals identifies low-quality, high-cost hospitals based on Medicare’s reports of how often each hospital followed recommended guidelines of care for basic things like giving heart attack patients aspirin upon admission. As required by the Affordable Care Act, Medicare will reduce payments to hospitals with substandard care at a high price.

  • Stenting's Steep Learning Curve Linked to High Mortality Rates
    Source: HealthLeaders Media (Friday September 30, 2011)

    Inexperienced physicians performing carotid artery stenting have alarmingly higher rates of 30-day mortality than more seasoned operators, according to a new report published in the Journal of American Medical Association.

  • Patient advocates seek public access to hospital accreditation surveys
    Source: Healthcare Finance News (Thursday September 22, 2011)

    A collection of more than 50 patient advocates, including doctors, lawyers and chief executive officers, are asking Congress to allow public access to hospital accreditation surveys.

  • Remedy Is Elusive as Metallic Hips Fail at a Fast Rate
    Source: NYT (Friday September 30, 2011)

    Metal on metal may be the issue with these implants but research has yet to definitively prove why these artificial hips are failing. But researchers warned more than a decade ago that they release medal debris into the blood system.

  • Hospitals readmission rates under scrutiny
    Source: Austin American-Statesman (Wednesday September 28, 2011)

    A new national study indicates that too many hospitals are fumbling and could face penalties if they don’t improve within a year. Texas hospitals respond.

  • Americans get too much healthcare, their docs say
    Source: Reuters (Monday September 26, 2011)

    Physicians think they are too agressive with medical care in their own practice.

  • Maggots found in shoes of man staying at Wichita nursing home
    Source: WSBT (Wednesday September 21, 2011)

    A Wichita nursing home is under investigation for patient safety problems after maggots were found in a patient’s shoes and open sores on his feet.

  • Lack of training can be deadly in cosmetic surgery
    Source: USA Today (Friday September 16, 2011)

    USA Today reports on the lack of safety oversight of doctors who perform cosmetic surgery, which can be painful and deadly.

  • Three quarters of nurses fear for their patients' safety
    Source: Nursing Times (Monday September 19, 2011)

    More than 75% of nurses fear for their patients’ safety due to inadequate staffing levels, poor ward layout and the bad attitudes of colleagues, a Nursing Times survey has found.

  • Woman's death raises questions about nursing home medical records
    Source: Sacramento Bee (Monday September 19, 2011)

    Don Esco sought skilled nursing care at a Placerville facility for Johnnie, his wife of nearly 61 years, when she was recuperating from a bout with pneumonia. She died 13 days later. Esco sued, alleging that the medical charts lied about Johnnie’s treatment.

  • Falsified patient records are untold story of California nursing home care
    Source: Sacramento Bee (Sunday September 18, 2011)

    The practice of nursing homes altering patients’ medical records masks serious conditions and covers up care not given. A Bee review of nearly 150 cases of alleged chart falsification in California reveals how the practice puts patients at risk and sometimes leads to death.

  • Health-Care Reform Rules Would Restrict Public Reporting
    Source: ProPublica (Thursday September 15, 2011)

    Medicare proposed rules would restrict public access to critical data about the performance of doctors. Consumers Union’s Safe Patient Project is urging Medicare to reconsider the restrictions.

  • Report Finds Improved Performance by Hospitals
    Source: New York Times (Wednesday September 14, 2011)

    NYT coverage of the Joint Commission report on hospital process measures. Consumers Union Safe Patient Project Director, Lisa McGiffert, quoted: “Highlight the poorest performers.”

  • Rater: 16 South Florida hospitals among nation's best
    Source: Sun Sentinel (Wednesday September 14, 2011)

    New hospital quality ratings by the Joint Commission fall short because they look only at preventive steps the hospitals took, not which hospitals did best at preventing bad results, said Consumers Union’s Safe Patient Project Director, Lisa McGiffert.

  • Justice Department investigating Parkland Memorial Hospital patient care, billing
    Source: Dallas Morning News (Friday September 9, 2011)

    The U.S. Justice Department is investigating a Texas hospital to ensure that its emergency room patients and others no longer face immediate threats to their health and safety.

  • 12 hospitals are fined over medical errors
    Source: Los Angeles Times (Thursday September 8, 2011)

    The California Department of Public Health fines 12 hospitals for patient safety violations likely to cause serious injury or death.

  • Hospitals fined $650k for patient safety violations in California
    Source: Fierce Healthcare (Thursday September 8, 2011)

    A dozen California hospitals are fined with a total of $650,000 for patient safety violations. The California Department of Public Health (CDPH) yesterday announced that these hospitals failed to comply with requirements that would likely cause serious injury or death to their patients.

  • Groups push for Congress to open hospital accreditation reports
    Source: Lexington Herald-Leader (Thursday September 8, 2011)

    A coalition of state and national patient safety activists, including Consumers Union, are pressing Congress to open reports by The Joint Commission, a non-profit group that performs most of the hospital accreditations performed nationwide. The federal government does not disclose the survey results now. Making the survey results public would give patients more information about hospitals’ operations, including their efforts to prevent hospital-acquired infections, and foster greater transparency.

  • Family: Errors at Children's Hospital Contributed to Boy's Death
    Source: KTLA (Friday September 2, 2011)

    A California family is claiming that their loved one suffered medical errors at a children’s hospital that lead to his death.

  • How Hospitals Harm Us
    Source: Daily Beast (Wednesday August 31, 2011)

    Effective and disturbing graphics and statistics on hospital patient safety performance. (Medical Billing and Coding)

  • CT Scans Linked to Cancer
    Source: Wall Street Journal (Tuesday December 15, 2009)

    The risk of cancer associated with popular CT scans appears to be greater than previously believed, according to studies published in the Archives of Internal Medicine.

  • Insight: DePuy's handling of hip recall sparks questions
    Source: Reuters (Monday August 22, 2011)

    “In a highly unusual move, DePuy has hired a third party — Broadspire Services Inc, which manages workers compensation and other medical claims on behalf of insurance companies and employers — to administer patient claims for out-of-pocket medical costs associated with the recall.”

  • NY woman, university fight against medical errors
    Source: Wall Street Journal (Monday August 22, 2011)

    By the time they graduate, every doctor coming out of the University at Buffalo will have gotten a lesson from Mary Brennan-Taylor. Mary lost her mother to hospital infections and the use of numerous medications.

  • Just 1 in 5 medical malpractice cases end in settlements or judgments for patients, study says
    Source: Washington Post (Wednesday August 17, 2011)

    Only 1 in 5 malpractice claims against doctors leads to a settlement or other payout, according to a new study published in the New England Journal Medicine. Most patients who are harmed are not able to pursue a lawsuit.

  • Seven Hospitals Share Distinction Of Highest Readmission Rates
    Source: Kaiser Health News (Tuesday August 9, 2011)

    These hospitals all had worse readmission rates than the average hospital for heart attack, heart failure and pneumonia patients — the three categories Medicare tracks. You can look up your local hospital’s rates on Hospital Compare by searching for the hospital’s name and then selecting the “Outcomes of Care” tab for that institution.

  • Medicare data can help patients fill perception gap
    Source: USA Today (Friday August 5, 2011)

    Patient satisfaction surveys about hospitals don’t tell the whole story of a hospital’s care ; concrete measures like hospital death and readmission rates help give a fuller picture of the patient safety conditions in a hospital.

  • Medicare data show gap in hospital performance, perception
    Source: USA Today (Friday August 5, 2011)

    More than 120 hospitals given top marks by patients for providing excellent care also have a darker distinction: high death rates for heart attack, heart failure or pneumonia, a USA TODAY analysis of new Medicare data has found. Hospital data, such as death and readmission rates, can help patients make better decisions about where to seek care.

  • Patient Safety America Newsletter

    The newsletter includes great information about the safety of drug devices.

  • Some Calif. Hospitals Could Lose Medicare Funds Under CMS Rule
    Source: California Healthline (Thursday August 4, 2011)

    “Some California hospitals are at risk of having Medicare payments lowered under a CMS final rule that will slash reimbursements to facilities identified as having high 30-day readmission rates for patients with certain conditions, California Watch reports (Jewett, California Watch, 8/3).”

  • Medicare rule would decrease payments to hospitals with high re-admission rates
    Source: The Washington Post (Saturday July 30, 2011)

    In an effort to save money and improve care, Medicare, the federal program for the elderly and disabled, is about to release a final rule aimed at getting hospitals to pay more attention to patients after discharge. This includes cutting back payments to hospitals where high numbers of patients are re-admitted [often due to infections or medical harm].

  • Mary Brennan-Taylor, advocate for change
    Source: Lockport Union-Sun & Journal (Monday August 1, 2011)

    After losing her mother to medical error, patient safety advocate is named a University of Buffalo adjunct research instructor. Mary is active with CU’s Safe Patient Project campaign.

  • U.S. health care system fails to deliver
    Source: Politico (Sunday July 31, 2011)

    Don Berwick editorial: U.S. health care system fails to deliver

  • Medicare To Examine Quality Of Care At Outpatient Surgery Centers
    Source: Kaiser Health News (Tuesday July 26, 2011)

    Starting in October 2013, Medicare payments to outpatient surgery centers will be affected by the rates of problems at these facilities.

  • U.S. Attorney says nursing home's 'worthless' care led to deaths, injuries
    Source: Kentucky Herald-Leader (Tuesday July 19, 2011)

    The complaint alleges that from 2004 to 2008, numerous patients suffered serious injuries; five of those patients died. Some of the residents who died went days without baths; they weren’t given enough to drink; and their pressure sores were not treated, leading to fatal infections, the complaint alleges.

  • 72 suits could be filed against Excela
    Source: Tribune-Review (Thursday July 21, 2011)

    So far, lawsuits have been filed on behalf of 34 patients who claimed that in 2009 and 2010 doctors implanted stents, tiny mesh tubes placed into an artery to ease blood flow. Those procedures were not necessary, according to the court filings.

  • Wrong-site surgeries risk reduced during pilot project
    Source: American Medical News (Monday July 18, 2011)

    Wrong-site surgeries occur nearly 40 times a week in the U.S., according to the Joint Commission. Oversights, including sloppy scheduling and the choice of marker, can result in tragic mistakes.

  • Our pediatrician gave my daughter the wrong vaccine
    Source: Salon (Wednesday July 20, 2011)

    Young girl given the wrong vaccine.

  • Going into hospital far riskier than flying
    Source: Los Angeles Times (Thursday July 21, 2011)

    Millions of people die each year from medical errors and infections linked to health care and going into hospital is far riskier than flying, the World Health Organisation said on Thursday.

  • Screening ECGs For Young Athletes Present Interpretation Challenges
    Source: Internal Medicine News (Wednesday July 13, 2011)

    Many ECGs are misinterpreted, which could be detrimental to young athletes if ECGs became a part of routine sports preparticipation screening.

  • Texas hospital mistakes to be reported, new tools for patients
    Source: (Tuesday July 19, 2011)

    Texas lawmakers passed bills in 2007 and 2009 requiring hospitals to report infections and medical errors to the Department of State Health Services. But the programs have yet to be funded and enforced. CU story sharer Katherine Daniel and CU Safe Patient Project director Lisa McGiffert quoted.

  • UCSF Study Backs Idea That Medical Errors Go Up in July
    Source: California Healthline (Thursday July 14, 2011)

    A new study in the Annals of Internal Medicine supports the common perception that medical errors and inefficiencies peak in July, when veteran residents check out of teaching hospitals and new medical school graduates check in.

  • The hospital patient’s safety checklist, part 2
    Source: Bangor Daily News (Monday July 11, 2011)

    Doctor authors patient safety checklist. Patient safety activist Kathy Day responds in the comment section.

  • Patient co-pilot checklist for safety — Part 1
    Source: Bangor Daily News (Monday June 27, 2011)

    Doctor authors patient safety checklist.

  • Heart Treatment Overused
    Source: Wall Street Journal (Wednesday July 6, 2011)

    Angioplasty in patients without symptoms is totally overused. But where is the pressure to stop paying for them?

  • When the treatment makes patients sick
    Source: The Atlanta Journal-Constitution (Sunday June 12, 2011)

    New federal statistics offer consumers a first-ever look at how well metro Atlanta hospitals are doing at protecting patients from potentially deadly threats; Georgia does not require hospitals to publicly report infection rates and medical errors.

  • Denver Hospital Sets the Bar for Patient Safety
    Source: PBS (Thursday June 30, 2011)

    “[t]his safety net hospital for the poor and uninsured now has the lowest mortality rate of any academic medical center in the country.”

  • Op-ed: Limiting resident physicians' work hours to save lives
    Source: Los Angeles Times (Friday July 1, 2011)

    Op-ed by Helen Haskell (Mothers Against Medical Error) and Lucian Leape (Harvard School of Public Health) on resident work hours.

  • Illinois Appellate Court Ruling Means Hospitals Must Release Data about Incidents of MRSA Infections
    Source: dBusiness News (Wednesday June 29, 2011)

    A recent Illinois Appellate Court opinion, which reversed the decision of a lower court, will make it easier for all hospital patients who acquire methicillin-resistant staphylococcus aureas (MRSA) to obtain medical records for the purpose of pursuing legal action.

  • Many hospitals overuse double CT scans, data show
    Source: Washington Post (Saturday June 18, 2011)

    Hundreds of hospitals are routinely performing a type of chest scan that experts say should be used rarely, subjecting patients to double doses of radiation and driving up health-care costs.

  • Mistakes In Outpatient Care Raising Concerns
    Source: Kaiser Health News (Tuesday June 28, 2011)

    Study on medical errors in outpatient settings such as doctors’ offices and urgent care centers.

  • Effort To End Surgeries On Wrong Patient Or Body Part Falters
    Source: Kaiser Health News (Monday June 20, 2011)

    Some researchers and patient safety experts say the problem of wrong-site surgery has not improved over the years and may be getting worse.

  • Medical misdiagnoses can have fatal consequences
    Source: The State Journal-Register (Sunday June 26, 2011)

    Diagnostic errors, a subset of medical errors, can lead to devastasting harm for patients.

  • 'Double' Chest Scans Increase Costs And Exposure To Radiation
    Source: Kaiser Health News (Saturday June 18, 2011)

    Hundreds of hospitals are routinely performing a type of chest scan that experts say should be used rarely, subjecting patients to double doses of radiation and driving up health care costs.

  • Grave errors often not reported, data suggest
    Source: Reno Gazette-Journal (Sunday June 19, 2011)

    Nevada’s new reporting laws will help Nevadans make decisions about care and shed light on whether hospitals are reporting their errors accurately.

  • Body Imaging Business Pushes Scans Many Don't Need — Including Me
    Source: ProPublica (Tuesday June 7, 2011)

    Has someone called you to offer a free heart scan? Read this ProPublica article first.

  • N.J. bill targets unlicensed surgery centers
    Source: (Thursday May 26, 2011)

    “Half of the 91 licensed and unlicensed surgery centers randomly inspected by the state in 2009 and 2010 did not meet federal health standards, healthcare experts testified Thursday. More than one quarter were cited for ‘immediate jeopardy’ violations that caused or can cause serious injury to patients, according to an analysis of inspection reports by the New Jersey Health Care Quality Institute.”

  • Johns Hopkins receives $10 million to open patient safety institute
    Source: Baltimore Sun (Thursday May 26, 2011)

    Johns Hopkins plans to use a $10 million gift to launch an institute for patient safety, aiming to reduce medical mistakes that have long troubled health care facilities around the nation. Safe Patient Project Director, Lisa McGiffert, said the institute could step up the pace of study and more quickly turn science into practice.

  • Live health chat: Staying safe in the hospital
    Source: WPMT (Tuesday June 7, 2011)

    Join a live chat at noon CT (1 p.m. ET/10 a.m. PT) on Tuesday, June 7, to chat about hospital safety with Tribune reporter Judy Graham, and panelists Dr. Julia Hallisy (Empowered Patient Coalition) and Lisa McGiffert (Director of Consumers Union’s Safe Patient Project).

  • Patient advocacy group aims to educate
    Source: Littleton Courier (Friday May 20, 2011)

    Lori Nerbonne and Kelly Grasso started advocating for reporting of hospital aquired infections and medical errors after their mother ultimately died of a series of medical errors, including hospital infections. They have since started a non-profit advocacy group called New Hampshire Patient Voices.

  • Reporting On Hidden Dangers Of Medical Radiation
    Source: NPR (Monday May 16, 2011)

    Bogdanich discusses his ongoing Times series about the medical and regulatory issues that have arisen as radiation therapies have become more ubiquitous in both dental and doctors’ offices. This includes radiation errors happening across the country, but we don’t know about them because many states don’t require reporting of these errors.

  • Study: Many elderly get colon screening too often
    Source: USA Today (Monday May 9, 2011)

    The U.S. Preventive Services Task Force recommends against routine colon cancer screening for most people 76 to 85 — and says for those older than 85, screening risks outweigh the benefits.

  • 21 dialysis clinics in S.C., including 1 in Moncks Corner, listed as having alarmingly high death rates
    Source: The Post and Courier (Saturday May 7, 2011)

    South Carolina dialysis patient, Tony Simmons, speaks out against the poor conditions he’s observed and errors he’s experienced, at a SC dialysis clinic. 19 percent of SC clinics had a “worse than expected” mortality rate, appearing more frequently than in neighboring states.

  • Medical error rate report questioned by Central Ohio hospitals
    Source: Business First (Friday May 6, 2011)

    Ohio hospital executives are objecting to data released by Medicare on medical harm occuring at OH hospitals. The federal Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services last month went live with individual hospital occurrences of eight so-called “never events,” or preventable conditions picked up during a hospitalization.

  • Patient's family seeks answers
    Source: St. Louis Post Dispatch (Thursday May 5, 2011)

    Ambiguous records at St. John’s and inability to get information frustrate wife and daughter of man, now deceased.

  • Prostate Exam Deaths From ‘Superbugs’ Spur Inquiry Into Cancer Tests
    Source: Bloomberg (Thursday May 5, 2011)

    Testing for prostate cancer may be over used by the medical profession as well as exposing patients to bacteria that can lead to deadly infections.

  • Laser Spine Surgery More Profitable Than Google Sees Complaints
    Source: Bloomberg (Wednesday May 4, 2011)

    Some surgeons from across the U.S. told Bloomberg News that Laser Spine surgery was either unnecessary or inappropriate for many patients who get it. 15 cases were filed against the company in the past 18 months.

  • South Carolina Hospitals Roll Out Checklists to Reduce Medical Errors
    Source: Becker's ASC Review (Thursday April 7, 2011)

    South Carolina hospitals are scheduled to start rolling out operating room surgical safety checklists, aimed at reducing the number of surgical errors that occur every year, according to a Greenville Online news report.

  • Iowa Doesn't Require Reports of Medical Errors
    Source: KCRG-TV9 (Sunday April 9, 28)

    Iowans have no way of knowing how their local hospital is doing when it comes to preventing medical errors, because the reporting is voluntary, aggregately and not hospital-specific. Iowans deserve to have hospital-specific information about medical harm so that they can make informed healthcare decisions for themselves and their loved ones.

  • Patients, beware of wrong-side surgeries
    Source: CNN (Thursday April 28, 2011)

    According to a 2006 study looking at the frequency of surgical errors in the United States, each year there could be as many as 2,700 mistakes where a surgery is performed on the wrong body part or the wrong patient. That’s about seven per day.

  • Editorial: Hospitals Shouldn’t Make You Sicker
    Source: New York Times (Sunday April 17, 2011)

    A study of the Veterans Affairs hospitals found that a MRSA prevention program yielded significant results. If other hospitals could replicate the effort, thousands of patients might be saved from needless infections acquired after they entered the hospital.

  • 1 in 3 patients harmed during hospital stay
    Source: American Medical News (Monday April 18, 2011)

    One-third of hospital patients experience adverse events and about 7% are harmed permanently or die as a result, according to a study that detected patient safety problems at a far higher rate than other methods.

  • Las Vegas Sun named Pulitzer Prize finalist for series on hospital care in Las Vegas
    Source: Daily Reporter (Monday April 18, 2011)

    Marshall Allen and Alex Richards wokrdded two years on an investigative report on the safety of Las Vegas hospitals, combing through almost 3 millioin billing records. Read the series The series “Do No Harm: Hospital Care in Las Vegas.”

  • Health care transparency bills clear state Senate committee
    Source: Las Vegas Sun (Thursday April 14, 2011)

    Nevada has come a long way getting hospital safety information to the public. Five bills this session require public reporting of infections and other medical errors.

  • Partnership for Patients aims to cut errors
    Source: San Antonio Express-News (Friday April 15, 2011)

    A recently announced initiative announced by the federal government aims to reduce medical harm like the kind suffered by William Wittman of San Antonio.

  • Reducing the Cost of Medical Errors: Spend A Little To Save A Lot
    Source: Health Beat Blog (Wednesday April 13, 2011)

    Maggie Mahar blogs on the significant cost savings from the Department of Health and Human Services initiative to invest money to prevent serious errors and frequent hospital admissions,

  • Obama Administration Introduces Plan to Reduce Preventable Medical Errors
    Source: PBS (Tuesday April 12, 2011)

    The Obama administration announced a new patient-safety program Tuesday on the heels of medical journal Health Affairs publishing a study showing that one in three people admitted to hospitals suffers a medical error or accident. Margaret Warner talks with Heath Affairs’ Susan Dentzer about the study and the new plan.

  • White House targets medical errors
    Source: Los Angeles Times (Wednesday April 13, 2011)

    The Obama administration announced Tuesday an initiative aimed at reducing the number of medical errors that occur in U.S. hospitals.

  • New hospital-safety plan leaves patients in the dark
    Source: Consumer Reports Health (Tuesday April 12, 2011)

    The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services announced a new hospital-safety plan for the nation, but they left out any mention of letting patients know how things are going.

  • How Safe is Your Hospital? NV Legislation Addresses the Issues
    Source: Public News Service (Tuesday April 12, 2011)

    “Nevadans could find out a whole lot more about infection rates and other safety issues at local hospitals and nursing homes, with five bills on such matters up for discussion today in the Legislature.”

  • HHS takes aim at medical errors, health care costs
    Source: CNN Health (Tuesday April 12, 2011)

    CU’s Safe Patient Project Director, Lisa McGiffert, quoted by CNN health blog on the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) “Partnership for Patients” initiative.

  • When Nurse Staffing Drops, Mortality Rates Rise: Study
    Source: Business Week (Wednesday March 16, 2011)

    “When nurse staffing levels fell below target levels in a large hospital, more patients died, a new study [appearing in New England Journal of Medicine] discovered. The finding may provide guidance in an era of nursing shortages and cost-cutting.”

  • Medicare releases data on hospital errors
    Source: St. Louis Post-Dispatch (Thursday April 7, 2011)

    Medicare now offers some information on medical errors to allow patients to compare hospitals’ safety records.

  • Hospital errors are costing $17 billion a year
    Source: Marketplace From American Public Media (Thursday April 7, 2011)

    A new study reveals that hospital errors are occurring 10 times the rate previously measured, and are costing billions of dollars a year. Dr. John Santa of Consumer Reports interviewed.

  • Medical errors in hospitals go undetected, study suggests
    Source: LA Times (Thursday April 7, 2011)

    The number medical errors occuring in hospitals might be 10 times greater than previously measured, reports the April issue of Health Affairs.

  • Warning flags: How safe is your hospital?
    Source: Chicago Tribune (Thursday March 31, 2011)

    What kind of information can you find out about your local hospital?

  • Hospital infection disclosure bills gaining support
    Source: Las Vegas Sun (Tuesday April 5, 2011)

    A package of bills to require hospitals and other medical facilities to expand their reporting of infections acquired by patients under their care appears to be gaining support.

  • Feds to Follow ProPublica, Release Dialysis Clinic Data
    Source: ProPublica (Tuesday March 29, 2011)

    Federal regulators say they are moving to make once-confidential data about the performance of kidney dialysis clinics more readily available to the public.

  • A century later, openess still gets tepid embrace
    Source: Las Vegas Sun (Sunday March 27, 2011)

    Even though progress has been made, still, some in the health care industry resist the calls for transparency.

  • Mistake admitted, respect earned
    Source: Las Vegas Sun (Sunday March 27, 2011)

    Surgeon who performed wrong surgery on a patient admitted his error and wrote up the case in The New England Journal of Medicine.

  • Admitting harm protects patients
    Source: Las Vegas Sun (Sunday March 27, 2011)

    A transparency battle is underway in Nevada. Nevada lawmakers are considering bills requiring hospitals statewide to publicly report injuries suffered in their facilities and other quality measures.

  • First, Do No Harm: An examination of medical education and medical care at Parkland Memorial Hospital

    First, Do No Harm is an extensive series examining medical education and the medical care at Parkland Memorial Hospital, a major trauma center in Dallas.

  • Bills would make hospitals’ data on safety issues public
    Source: Las Vegas Sun (Thursday March 24, 2011)

    Several patient safety bills have been filed in the Nevada legislature in hopes of bringing more transparency to medical care in Nevada hospitals.

  • Medical Harm: What's a consumer to do?

    Interviews with a consumer advocate (Betsy Imholz) and a journalist (William Heisel) about their work to make medical harm information more transparent, and what consumers can do to inform themselves.

  • Legislative measure seeks medical-board transparency
    Source: Seattle Times (Thursday March 17, 2011)

    A Washington couple encouraged a bill to be filed that would provide more transparency to the medical complaint process. House Bill 1493 has passed the House and is scheduled to be heard by a Senate committee Thursday, March 17, 2011.

  • Hospital Safety Series

    An archive of Trudy Lieberman’s recurring series on hospital safety

  • Keeping an Eye on Hospital Safety, Part II
    Source: Columbia Journalism Review (Thursday March 10, 2011)

    This is the second in a series of posts that will examine what the media are doing to report on patient safety in their communities.

  • Glenwood case led to national recall
    Source: Glenwood Springs Post Independent (Thursday March 10, 2011)

    Local boy who’s battling leukemia contracted bacterial infection from tainted alcohol wipes recalled by the FDA two months later.

  • Op Ed: Hospital acquired infection is the gorilla in the room
    Source: Minute Man News Service (Wednesday March 9, 2011)

    “I guess America’s present “Wild West” health care system does allow lots of folks to make a handsome profit. But the rest of us are suffering from high health insurance premiums and unacceptably high fatality rates caused by medical errors.”

  • HealthGrades study finds patients are 46% less likely to experience error in top-rated hospitals

    The study finds there is a significant gap in the probability of experience a patient safety event between hospitals with good patient safety records and those with lower patient safety performance standards.

  • Colo. hospital blew whistle on contaminated wipes
    Source: (Monday March 7, 2011)

    Spate of serious infections caused by rare bacteria sparked massive recall, investigation

  • Do expensive buildings improve health care?
    Source: Concord Monitor (Thursday March 3, 2011)

    Patient safety advocate Lori Nerbonne argues that the $1billion spent on new hospital buildings in New Hampshire since 2000 has not resulted in better quality care.

  • Editorial: Missouri hospitals owe it to the public to admit their mistakes.
    Source: St. Louis Post-Dispatch (Monday February 28, 2011)

    Post-Dispatch Editorial Board: Patients have a right to know a hospital’s track record.

  • 9 Md. hospitals report higher-than-average rates of complications
    Source: Washington Post (Thursday February 24, 2011)

    Patients at one of every five Maryland hospitals suffered higher-than-state-average rates of infections, pneumonia and other complications last year, and most of those medical centers will face a financial penalty as a result, regulators say.

  • Hospitals leery of reporting serious errors
    Source: St. Louis Post-Dispatch (Sunday February 27, 2011)

    Missouri hospitals don’t want people to know when and where medical mistakes happen – and no law requires them to tell.

  • Patients in peril?
    Source: The Columbia Daily Tribune (Sunday February 27, 2011)

    Two recent reports found issues at University Hospital that could affect patient safety. But a disconnect between regulators means many safety concerns like these are not shared with other agencies — or with the public.

  • Study: Medical Errors in NC Indicative of Nationwide Problem
    Source: Public News Service (Friday December 10, 2010)

    It’s not getting any better when it comes to reducing the rate of medical errors occurring in North Carolina, according to a recent study published in the “New England Journal of Medicine.”

  • The story of Michael Skolnik and Citizens for Patient Safety
    Source: Gary Schwitzer's HealthNewsReview Blog (Monday February 21, 2011)

    “If you haven’t heard Michael Skolnik’s story, you should.”

  • Proposed bill to require written consent from living family for autospy
    Source: The Katy Times (Monday February 21, 2011)

    2004 death of Jerry Carswell at Katy hospital influenced introduction of HB 1009

  • EMMC's nurses still fighting for adequate staffing
    Source: Bangor Daily News (Monday February 21, 2011)

    “Nurses from EMMC have had to strike over patient safety and safe staffing — so why haven’t EMMC and the EMHS board of directors listened?”

  • Download event flyerFree Workshop in Denver March 5, 2011: Finding Your Way Through a Safe Healthcare Journey

    Free Workshop by Patty Skolnik, Founder and Director, Citizens for Patient Safety. Must RSVP. For more information contact Breanna Sakis (

  • Released hospital patients' many unhappy returns
    Source: San Francisco Chronicle (Wednesday February 16, 2011) new study found that 20 percent of California patients were readmitted to the hospital within 30 days at an annual cost of $250 million. The study blames poor discharge planning but also patient complications, which we know can often be the result of infections and medical errors. The report by the California Discharge Planning Cooperative can be found here.

  • Study finds FDA's less stringent medical device approval process faulty

    A recent study on mdical device recalls by the National Research Center for Women & Families found the majority of recalled medical products were approved without testing. The FDA’s 510(K) process that only requires medical devices be similar to another device on the market to be approved. Find the study in the Archives of Internal Medicine here.

  • Irresponsible marketing for Lap-Bands may have deadly consequences
    Source: Reporting on Health (Friday February 11, 2011)

    Three CA patients have died after weight-loss surgeries at one clinic alone.

  • Rates of Early Elective Births 'Disturbing,' Says Watchdog Group
    Source: HealthLeaders Media (Friday January 28, 2011)

    “Leapfrog’s release of 2010 data is the first real evidence that the practice of scheduling newborn deliveries before 39 weeks without a medical reason is common and varies among hospitals even in the same state or community.”

  • Inspection to determine if MountainView loses Medicare payments
    Source: Las Vegas Sun (Thursday January 20, 2011)

    The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid (CMS) found that a Las Vegas hospital was not meeting the conditions for the program. Specifically, it “had failed to ensure the safety of patients and protect their rights, the government said.”

  • Medication errors rise sharply at Minnesota hospitals
    Source: Star Tribune (Wednesday January 19, 2011)

    Annual statewide report shows spike in medication errors during previous year.

  • Minnesota Medical Mistake Report Released
    Source: Minnesota Fox 9 (Thursday January 9, 20)

    “While mistakes in the state are still considered rare, officials were hoping for an improvement in the numbers — and say “holding steady” is not good enough.”

  • Too much medical care can kill, author warns in Texas
    Source: American-Statesman (Saturday January 15, 2011)

    About one-third of health care spending is wasted, much of it on care that is unneccessary for patients but lucrative for doctors, author Rosemary Gibson says.

  • Dialysis center complaints unsubstantiated
    Source: Merced Sun-Star (Friday January 7, 2011)

    State officials clear three county facilities after investigations. The public can learn only minimal information about these complaints since the California Department of Public Health determined the complaints were unsubstantiated.

  • St. Luke's review finds almost 30% echocardiograms are misread
    Source: Journal Sentinel (Tuesday June 22, 2010)

    Nearly 30% of diagnostic echocardiograms done at Aurora St. Luke’s Medical Center were misread by insufficiently trained cardiologists, resulting in more invasive, unnecessary procedures, according to an internal review done at the Milwaukee hospital.

  • Some patients overexposed to radiation, CoxHealth says
    Source: (Thursday February 25, 2010)

    Hospital probing any possible link to deaths.

  • Patients first: Experts look at hospitals that emphasize safety
    Source: Las Vegas Sun (Monday January 10, 2011)

    The panel: Marshall Allen, Las Vegas Sun health care reporter and author of the “Do No Harm” series; Dr. Timothy McDonald, co-executive director of the Institute for Patient Safety Excellence at the University of Illinois Medical Center in Chicago; Dr. Mitchell Forman, president of the Clark County Medical Society; and Sandra Coletta, CEO of Kent Hospital in Warwick, R.I.

  • CT Advocate: Medical Errors Take a Horrendous Toll
    Source: Public News Service (Tuesday January 11, 2011)

    “This report, that came out in December, substantiates not only that those numbers were valid, but that the scope of the problem is far greater than anyone ever thought.” Jean Rexford; CT Center for Patient Safety.

  • Harm in Hospitals
    Source: Hartford Courant (Monday January 10, 2011)

    Editorial: Preventable deaths They will continue until there is a national strategy to stop them

  • 'You can’t kill my mother and get away with it'
    Source: Las Vegas Sun (Sunday December 26, 2010)

    Article by Marshall Allen after attending Consumers Union’s Safe Patient Project 2010 summit.

  • How to put patients first
    Source: Las Vegas Sun (Sunday December 26, 2010)

    Part 5 in the Las Vegas Sun series Do No Harm: Hospital Care in Las Vegas.

  • Sen. Grassley Demands Information on Dialysis Clinic Conditions
    Source: ProPublica (Wednesday December 22, 2010)

    In response to an investigation by ProPublica, U.S. Senator Grassley is demanding answers from federal regulators about the care patients are receiving at U.S. dialysis facilities.

  • A Pinpoint Beam Strays Invisibly, Harming Instead of Healing
    Source: New York Times (Tuesday December 28, 2010)

    Medical radiation harm can do serious damage to patients and it is unclear what safety measures are in place to prevent future harm.

  • Where We Live: Dubious Docs
    Source: (Wednesday December 22, 2010)

    Interviews with Jean Rexford (CT Center for Patient Safety); Tracy Webber (Propublica); Lisa Chedekel (C-HIT) discuss learning about a doctor’s professional history. A report by the Connecticut Health Investigative Team (C-HIT) shows that many out of state doctors with a history of disciplinary actions are slipping through the cracks of Connecticut’s public health department.

  • Why We Still Kill Patients: Invisibility, Inertia, And Income
    Source: Health Affairs Blog (Monday December 6, 2010)

    “What for me struck a particularly jarring note was not just the absence of improvement, but the reluctance of the health care leaders interviewed to speak candidly about why progress has been so slow.”

  • Most Elderly Stroke Patients Fare Poorly After Hospital Discharge
    Source: National Nursing News (Monday December 20, 2010)

    Nearly 60% of Medicare stroke patients die or are rehospitalized within a year of their initial discharge, according to a study by UCLA.

  • Letter to the Editor: The gift of care
    Source: Bangor Daily News (Monday December 20, 2010)

    Adequate nurse staffing can help patient safety.

  • Top Spine Surgeons Reap Royalties, Medicare Bounty
    Source: The Wall Street Journal (Monday December 20, 2010)

    The hospitals that collect the most Medicare dollars for spine fusion play host to many of the surgeons paid by Medtronic

  • DMN Investigates: Lax supervision of residents at U.S. teaching hospitals puts patients at risk
    Source: The Dallas Morning News (Sunday December 19, 2010)

    The public gets only glimpses of how often patients die or are injured by unsupervised residents.

  • Quality ratings on coronary artery bypasses made public with surgeons' help
    Source: (Sunday September 12, 2010)

    In a first-of-its kind bid to make clinical quality performance data available to the public, the Society of Thoracic Surgeons partnered with Consumer Reports in September to rate 221 cardiac surgical groups in 42 states.

  • NYT Letter to the Editor: New Ways to Prevent Hospital Errors
    Source: New York Times (Wednesday December 1, 2010)

    Arthur Levin, a member of the Institute of Medicine committee that released “To Err Is Human” almost 11 years ago: “The news that patients are no safer in the hospital today than they were a decade ago should send a strong message to all of those responsible for keeping patients safe from preventable harm to do more, faster.”

  • Study finds room for improvement on NC patient safety
    Source: Asheville Citizen-Times (Tuesday November 30, 2010)

    A six-year study at 10 North Carolina hospitals showed no decline in so-called patient “harms,” which included medical errors and unavoidable mistakes.

  • Editorial: Danger: Hospital care ahead
    Source: Philadelphia Daily News (Wednesday December 1, 2010)

    A study shows that many institutions lack a ‘culture of safety’

  • Hospital botches operation causing healthy woman to lose both legs
    Source: Natural (Monday November 29, 2010)

    A medical error turned a routine surgury into a horror story for a New York woman.

  • Plastic surgery centers that fail state standards still allowed to accept patients
    Source: Los Angeles Times (Tuesday November 30, 2010)

    Patchwork rules permit facilities to operate without a state license. Private accreditation agencies don’t have to release records of complaints and offices that lose accreditation can quickly be certified by another agency.

  • California's Cosmetic Surgery Centers Operate With Limited Oversight
    Source: California Healthline (Tuesday November 30, 2010)

    A lack of state regulation has allowed many unlicensed and unaccredited cosmetic surgery centers in California to provide services to patients, the Los Angeles Times reports.

  • Hospital Care in Las Vegas: Why we suffer
    Source: Las Vegas Sun (Sunday November 14, 2010)

    Substandard hospital care has roots in a culture of seeking profits, shunning best practices, turning away from problems.

  • 10 Things I Learned at the Consumers Union Safe Patient Summit - Part 2
    Source: Reporting on Health (Wednesday November 24, 2010)

    Bill Heisel of Reporting on Health and Antidote adds more ideas he learned at CU’s Safe Patient Project 2010 summit in Austin.

  • No errors reported by nearly 90 California hospitals
    Source: Los Angeles Times (Saturday November 27, 2010)

    List of 87 California hospitals that have made no medical error reports to the state health department. State officials have given these hospitals until Nov. 30 to verify their records or report past errors.

  • Study Finds No Progress in Safety at Hospitals
    Source: New York Times (Wednesday November 24, 2010)

    A new study conducted from 2002 to 2007 in 10 North Carolina hospitals, found that harm to patients was common and that the number of incidents did not decrease over time. The most common problems were complications from procedures or drugs and hospital-acquired infections. Click here to view the study.

  • MRSA infections (video)
    Source: (Friday November 19, 2010)

    Activist Michael Bennett sharing his story in the wake of the Office of Inspector General report on medical errors.

  • Deaths Drop After Release of Bypass Surgery Results
    Source: Bay Citizen (Monday October 18, 2010)

    “Five years after the state began collecting and releasing data on deaths associated with heart bypass surgery, the mortality rate associated with the procedure is 27 percent below where it was before, according to a new study by UC Davis researchers.”

  • Study: Patients suffering harm in hospitals a national problem
    Source: Las Vegas Sun (Wednesday November 17, 2010)

    An ongoing Las Vegas Sun investigation paints a bleak portrait of hospital care in Southern Nevada. But according to a federal government study released Tuesday, the situation may be much worse.

  • Errors kill 15,000 aged US patients a month-study
    Source: Reuters (Tuesday November 16, 2010)

    New report shows that hospital patients are being harmed by medical errors at an alarming rate. Unfortunately, most Americans have no way of knowing whether their hospital is doing a good job preventing medical errors.

  • Mistakes Chronicled on Medicare Patients
    Source: New York Times (Monday November 15, 2010)

    New report on medical harm released by the Office of Inspector General for the Department of Health and Human Services finds that in a single month (October 2008), 134,000 Medicare patients experienced at least one adverse event, ranging from a temporary health setback to death, during a hospital stay.

  • Hospital care fatal for some patients
    Source: USA Today (Tuesday November 16, 2010)

    “An estimated 15,000 Medicare patients die each month in part because of care they receive in the hospital, says a government study released today.”

  • In Dialysis, Life-Saving Care at Great Risk and Cost
    Source: ProPublica (Tuesday November 9, 2010)

    Dangerous dialysis that can harm or infect US kidney patients exposed in a ProPublica’s recent investigation.

  • When Needles Dislodge, Dialysis Can Turn Deadly
    Source: ProPublica (Wednesday November 10, 2010)

    “Dialysis patients die or are hospitalized every year as a result of catastrophic hemorrhages during treatment, a ProPublica review of regulatory and court records has found.”

  • Parkland knee surgery done by doctor in training leads to amputation, questions
    Source: Dallas Morning News (Saturday November 13, 2010)

    TX woman harmed by knee surgery that leads to additional surgeries, high debt, and eventually amputation.

  • State Officials Fine 12 Hospitals for Major Patient Safety Issues
    Source: California Healthline (Monday November 15, 2010)

    On Friday, the California Department of Public Health issued $575,000 in fines to 12 CA hospitals for serious medical errors than can lead to injury or death.

  • Surgery error leads doc to public mea culpa
    Source: (Wednesday November 10, 2010)

    Surgeon goes public with his operation mistake.

  • Editorial: Reducing Medical Errors in Indiana
    Source: Fort Wayne Journal Gazette (Wednesday September 1, 2010)

    “Tracking and preventing errors is a key to reining in health-care costs. The Society of Actuaries reported this month that medical errors cost hospitals $19.5 billion in 2008.”

  • Wrong-patient, wrong-site procedures persist despite safety protocol
    Source: American Medical News (Monday November 1, 2010)

    A new study found that Joint Commission-required timeouts for surgical procedures are skipped or rushed, and surgeries performed on the wrong body part or the wrong patient persist.

  • Contemplating Safety While Lying Down
    Source: Prepared Patient Forum (Monday November 1, 2010)

    How can patients stay safe in the hospital if they are too ill to be vigilant about their own care?

  • When Errors Occur

    How do hospital CEOs handle conversations with family members that occur at their hospitals?

  • Senate Probes Reasons for Adverse Hospital Events
    Source: California Healthline (Thursday October 21, 2010)

    The CA Senate Health committee held a hearing to discuss the California Department of Public Health’s status on implementing hospital infection public reporting and preventing adverse events in California hospitals. Consumers Union has found that the Department has been lagging in these areas leaving patients at risk.

  • Parents want answers after baby's death
    Source: (Friday October 15, 2010)

    Five years after her death, family struggling to find answers about the death of their infant at a Toronto hospital.

  • The fight for medical information after patients die
    Source: CTV News (Saturday October 9, 2010)

    Family members of medical error victim left in the dark due to hospital cover up.

  • Mothers to lead free training on Staying Safe in the Hospital – Join us in San Diego on Saturday
    Source: MomsRising Blog (Thursday October 7, 2010)

    Mothers will lead a patient safety training sponsored by Consumers Union’s Safe Patient Project.

  • SC coroners investigate deaths from medical errors
    Source: (Saturday October 2, 2010)

    A new SC law requires county coroners or medical examiners to be notified if a patient dies within 24 hours after being admitted to a hospital and within 24 hours following an invasive surgical procedure.

  • Medication errors like those at Children's common, underreported
    Source: Hearst Newspapers (Friday October 1, 2010)

    Follow up story to a Hearst investigation published on about under reporting of medical errors in Washington State.

  • Despite law, medical errors likely go unreported
    Source: Hearst Newspapers (Sunday September 26, 2010)

    Though Washington is one of 27 states that require hospitals and other facilities to report serious medical errors, just a fraction the errors that likely happen here are reported.

  • Doctors Confess Their Fatal Mistakes

    Read doctors’ confessions about medical errors and what has to improve to keep us safe.

  • Mistakes, advances in New York's hospitals
    Source: Times Union (Monday September 20, 2010)

    In the New York analysis, there were 84 cases of foreign objects left behind after surgery, only four fewer than the previous year. These include items like sponges, clamps, scissors, catheter tips, drill bits, needles and more.

  • No reason to cover up mistakes
    Source: Boston Globe (Wednesday September 15, 2010)

    Boston Globe editorial: doctors need to fess up when they harm patients.

  • Doctors find 1-square-foot sponge inside patient
    Source: (Wednesday September 15, 2010)

    A huge surgical sponge is left inside a Florida man after an operation.

  • A Rush to Operating Rooms That Alters Men's Lives
    Source: New York Times (Monday August 30, 2010)

    Is it necessary to rush men with prostate cancer to the operating room?

  • In Wash., Adult Family Homes Draw Scrutiny
    Source: NPR (Tuesday September 14, 2010)

    A series in the Seattle Times newspaper highlighted problems and deaths due to neglect at adult family homes in Washington State.

  • For-profit hospitals performing more C-sections
    Source: California Watch (Saturday September 11, 2010)

    For-profit hospitals across the state are performing cesarean sections at higher rates than nonprofit hospitals, a California Watch analysis has found. The CDC found a 27 percent increase in severe maternal injuries in the U.S. associated with higher rates of C-sections.

  • Do No Harm: Hospital Care in Las Vegas

    This is the summary of all of the articles the Las Vegas Sun has done on medical harm.

  • Keeping an Eye on Hospital Safety
    Source: Columbia Journalism Review (Thursday September 2, 2010)

    In a state where gamblers can easily access the odds on any video poker machine, Nevada patients have had no way of knowing their odds of being injured in a hospital, the Las Vegas Sun told its readers in part one of a splendid series on hospital safety. The series, by reporters Marshall Allen and Alex Richards, aims to change that.

  • NH patient advocacy group becoming a nonprofit
    Source: AP (Monday September 6, 2010)

    Patient safety advocate Lori Nerbonne and her sister Kelly Grasso have been working to make hospitals safer in New Hampshire and have now officially become and non-profit and launched a website:

  • Caifornia healthcare workers' flu vaccination rates lagging
    Source: (Friday September 3, 2010)

    Only 52 percent of California hospital employees have received flu vaccinations, a Consumers Union study shows. And the advocacy group says that is detrimental to the state’s health.

  • Report: Only 50 Percent of Hospital Workers Vaccinated Against Flu
    Source: Capital Public Radio's "KXJZ News (Thursday September 2, 2010)

    UC Davis responds to Consumers Union’s report on low flu vaccination rates at California hosppitals.

  • Half of hospital workers didn’t get flu shots, Consumers Union finds
    Source: (Thursday September 2, 2010)

    Consumers Union’s report on low flu vaccination rates among California health care workers is based on inacurrate data according to the head of the CA Department of Public Health who provided the data to Consumers Union.

  • U.S. Inaction Lets Look-Alike Tubes Kill Patients
    Source: New York Times (Friday August 20, 2010)

    Feeding tube hospital errors causing serious injury or death signal problems with hospitals, medical device companies and FDA.

  • A breakthrough in medical transparency
    Source: Las Vegas Sun (Sunday June 27, 2010)

    As part of a two-year investigation, Sun reporters have uncovered some of the dangers patients have unknowingly encountered as they enter delivery rooms, surgical suites and intensive care units, including thousands of cases of injury, death and deadly infection associated with stays in Las Vegas hospitals.

  • Fire in the OR and how hospitals should report medical mistakes

    Blog post by Maggie Mahar, author of Money-Driven Medicine, on the need for hospitals to report medical errors so that they can be prevented.

  • After Stroke Scans, Patients Face Serious Health Risks
    Source: New York Times (Saturday July 31, 2010)

    New York Times investigation on radiation overdoses during CT brain perfusion scans, and the long-term risks radiation overdoses can have on patient health. The FDA began an investigation but has yet to provide a final report on what it found.

  • Girl, 16, dies during restraint at an already-troubled hospital
    Source: St. Louis-Post Dispatch (Sunday August 1, 2010)

    Tragic story of a young girl who was suffocated in a bean bag chair at a hospital that had been warned by state and federal regulators that patients weren’t safe.

  • Serious medical errors, little public information
    Source: St. Louis Post-Dispatch (Sunday August 1, 2010)

    Hear from a journalist about how difficult it is to find information about a serious medical error. No matter what source you turn to, you are left with few answers.

  • Heavy patient falls off operating room table — later dies
    Source: Seattle Times (Wednesday July 28, 2010)

    A 300-pound sedated patient who was awaiting a routine procedure fell off an operating table and later died. Accidents like these should be prevented before it’s too late.

  • Baby is breast-fed by wrong woman at Virginia Hospital Center
    Source: Washington Post (Wednesday July 28, 2010)

    Hospital mix up in patient identification causes newborn to be breastfed by wrong mom.

  • Screening for Sepsis Could Save Lives, Researchers Say
    Source: US News and World Report (Tuesday July 20, 2010)

    A recent study in the July issue of Archives of Surgery found that surgery patients are more likely to suffer sepsis or septic shock than blood clots or heart attack.

  • Ob-Gyns Issue Less Restrictive VBAC Guidelines
    Source: (Thursday July 22, 2010)

    The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists released guidelines that state it is safe to have a vaginal delivery after a previous delivery by cesarean delivery.

  • Prone to Error: Earliest Steps to Find Cancer
    Source: NYT (Monday July 19, 2010)

    “Diagnosing the earliest stage of breast cancer can be surprisingly difficult, prone to both outright error and case-by-case disagreement over whether a cluster of cells is benign or malignant, according to an examination of breast cancer cases by The New York Times.”

  • Prone to Error: Earliest Steps to Find Cancer
    Source: New York Times (Monday July 19, 2010)

    The New York Times finds that early diagnosis of breast cancer can be prone to error on whether the cells are benign or malignant, leading to unnecessary treatment and psychological distress.

  • The Wrong Stuff
    Source: Slate (Monday June 28, 2010)

    Astronaut turned patient safety expert interview on what patient safety advocates can learn from NASA.

  • Are hospitals deadlier in July?
    Source: CNN (Thursday July 8, 2010)

    A recent study finds that deaths from medication errors increase by 10 percent during July, a so-called July effect as students graduate from medical school and enter residency programs.

  • July: A Deadly Time For Hospitals
    Source: NPR (Monday July 5, 2010)

    Is the “July Effect” a myth. A study shows that deaths due to medication errors spike in July at teaching hospitals where new residents are just starting their residency. Medical records from 1979-2006 were analyzed.

  • Health care can hurt you
    Source: Las Vegas Sun (Sunday June 27, 2010)

    Sun’s investigation of Nevada hospital data shows 969 incidents of inpatient injuries — some that can be deadly

  • Back in the hospital again
    Source: Boston Globe (Monday June 21, 2010)

    If you get admitted to a hospital, chances are way too good that you’ll be back before long — maybe more than once

  • A New Survey Reveals What Most Hospitals Patients Don’t Know About the Residents Who Care For Them-- Part 1
    Source: Health Beat (Wednesday June 2, 2010)

    Blog post series by Maggie Mahar on resident work hours.

  • July: When not to go to the hospital
    Source: Science News (Wednesday June 2, 2010)

    A new study finds medication error rates spike 10 percent in the month of July.

  • Hospitals Fined More than $1M For Failure to Report Adverse Events
    Source: HealthLeaders Media (Thursday June 3, 2010)

    “One-fourth of California’s 450 acute care hospitals have been fined a total of more than $1 million so far—one hospital received five fines totaling more than $130,000—for failing to promptly report adverse events.”

  • Avoidable mistakes rise despite hospital efforts
    Source: San Francisco Chronicle (Wednesday June 2, 2010)

    “In the latest fiscal year, California hospitals reported 197 cases of “retained foreign objects” for a total of 350 incidents over the past two years. They accounted for 14 percent of all preventable errors reported during those two years. That’s out of 2,446 adverse events reported in California from July 1, 2007, through Dec. 31, 2009, according to the state Department of Public Health.”

  • Reporting surgical fires could improve patient safety in Ohio, experts say
    Source: (Tuesday May 11, 2010)

    Reporting medical errors, such as surgical fires, to outside agencies can help prevent them, medical safety experts say. But Ohio doesn’t require it.

  • Maine Campaign for Better Care press conference (video)
    Source: (May 2010 (Thursday May 6, 2010)

    Maine health care advocates held a press conference to make sure health reform is implemented properly, including improving the quality and safety of health care.

  • U.S. to hospitals: Clean up your act
    Source: CNN (Thursday April 29, 2010)

    The article highlights quality and safety provisions in healthcare reform. “The legislation contains dozens of provisions, including fining hospitals, to reduce medical errors, hospital-borne infections and costly preventable readmissions.”

  • New Web Site Invites Patients To Report on Adverse Medical Events
    Source: (Monday April 26, 2010)

    The Empowered Patient Project has created a patient oriented survey on adverse medical events. Aggregate information from the surveys will be posted on their website.

  • Patient Advocates Announce Website to Collect Medical Error Stories

    Press Relase and Link to Adverse Medical Events Survey

  • Report says state fails to monitor hospitals
    Source: San Francisco Chronicle (Thursday March 18, 2010)

    “The California Department of Public Health has consistently failed to enforce new laws designed to reduce medical errors and infections at California hospitals.”

    View the report here:

  • California is Lagging on Patient Safety
    Source: California Progress Report (Thursday April 15, 2010)

    Guest blog post by our Director Lisa McGiffert on the slow progress of California’s Department of Public Health to implement patient safety laws.

  • Two New Health Care Quality Reports Discussed at State House
    Source: Health Care For All (Thursday April 15, 2010)

    Health Care For All hosts event to publicize the release of the Massachusetts Department of Public Health first hospital-specific report about Health-care associated infections (HAIs) and the second report on Serious Reportable Events (SREs).

  • State Issues Fines To 7 Hospitals for Significant Lapses in Patient Safety
    Source: California Healthline (Wednesday April 14, 2010)

    On Tuesday, the California Department of Public Health announced its latest round of fines, charging seven state hospitals for serious patient safety violations, the Los Angeles Times reports.

  • Hospital fined for sponge mistake
    Source: The San Diego Union-Tribune (Tuesday April 13, 2010)

    State health regulators Tuesday cited staffers at Scripps Mercy Hospital in San Diego for leaving a surgical sponge in the abdomen of a cervical cancer patient, who required two additional surgeries to remove it.

  • California Department of Public Health (CDPH) hospital administrative penalties 4/13/2010

    View California Department of Public Health (CDPH) Hospital Administrative Penalties 4/13/2010

  • California Hospitals Racked Up Fines for Failing To Report Errors
    Source: California Healthline (Tuesday April 13, 2010)

    “California regulators have fined hospitals more than $1 million for failing to report serious medical errors in a timely manner…”

  • Report Says State Falling Short On Monitoring Patient Safety (audio clip)
    Source: KPBS (Thursday March 18, 2010)

    CU’s Betsy Imholz interviewed by KPBS about the state of California falling short on monitoring patient safety. Our recent report found that the California Department of Public Health has been slow to implement a number of key provisions of new patient safety laws.

  • Hospitals fined more than $1 million for failing to report errors
    Source: California Watch Blog (Monday April 12, 2010)

    “California regulators have fined hospitals just over $1 million for failing to report incidents such as leaving a foreign object in a patient after a surgery or operating on the wrong person, according to data released to California Watch by the California Department of Public Health.”

  • Patient Safety Report Shows Medical Errors Continuing in NJ Hospitals
    Source: Atlantic Hightland Herarld (Thursday April 1, 2010)

    AARP: Older Adults Still the Most Affected by Dangerous Medical Errors

  • Public Citizen Releases Annual Ranking of State Medical Boards
    Source: Public Citizen (Monday April 5, 2010)

    Public Citizen’s 2010 annual ranking of state medical boards shows that most states, including one of the largest, are not living up to their obligations to protect patients from doctors who are practicing substandard medicine, according to the report released today.

  • Reform Promotes Patient Safety By Creating Payment Incentives, Making Mistakes Public
    Source: Kaiser Health News' Daily Report (Thursday April 1, 2010)

    Consumers Union’s Safe Patient Project mentioned in Kaiser Health News.

  • Billings Gazette Opinion: All Americans will benefit from care delivery reforms
    Source: Billing Gazette (Sunday April 4, 2010)

    Editorial on the patient safety provisions of the health reform bill.

  • Viewpoints: Fine print on Rx labels spells danger
    Source: Sacramento Bee (Saturday April 3, 2010)

    Betsy Imholz of Consumers Union challenges the decision the California Pharmacy Board has signaled it will adopt regarding presription drug labeling standards.

  • Health System Bears Cost of Implants With No Warranties
    Source: NYT (Friday April 2, 2010)

    “When a car breaks, a computer fails or a toaster flames out, the manufacturer is often liable under the product warranty. But that is not how the multibillion-dollar orthopedics industry tends to work, according to doctors, industry experts and three of the biggest device makers. “

  • UK: Hospital checklists for common conditions 'cut deaths'
    Source: BBC (Thursday April 1, 2010)

    Checklists that spell out exactly how to care for patients with common conditions have dramatically reduced hospital deaths, say doctors.

  • Health reform can cut errors
    Source: Times Union (Thursday April 1, 2010)

    More reforms are needed to protect patients from preventable medical harm, but the new health reform law creates a solid foundation that will help ensure that the health care we are paying for is safe.

  • This Won't Hurt a Bit
    Source: Newsweek (Friday March 5, 2010)

    How we can save billions by cutting out unnecessary procedures that kill tens of thousands a year.

  • California patient safety changes slow in coming, despite 13,500 deaths each year
    Source: Protect Consumer Justice (Thursday March 18, 2010)

    What’s taking the California Department of Public Health (CDPH) so long to implement a program to prevent hospital acquired infections? That’s what Consumers Union has been trying to find out since December, but the watchdog group isn’t getting answers.

  • You wouldn't fly with a dead-tired pilot. So why let a wiped-out physician work on you?
    Source: Dead By Mistake Blog (Thursday February 11, 2010)

    Patient Safety Advocates Launch Campaign to Reduce Resident Physician Fatigue, Boost Patient Safety

  • Seattle hospital a safe haven
    Source: Hearst Newspapers (Monday March 22, 2010)

    Hearst Newspapers (March 22, 2010)

  • N.Y. hospitals on the "watch list"
    Source: Hearst Newspapers (Monday March 22, 2010)

    Safety problems at Albany Medical Center Hospital and Glens Falls Hospital landed the two Capital Region facilities on the Hearst Newspapers investigation’s “watch list.”

  • Detective work required to uncover errors
    Source: Hearst Newspapers (Sunday March 21, 2010)

    The federal government can’t thoroughly detect medical errors in hospitals without employing physicians or other clinicians like gumshoes, according to a recent federal study.

  • Transparency and the health-care reform bill
    Source: Washington Post (Sunday March 21, 2010)

    Merrill Goozner points out another little-noticed provision in the bill: “Drug and device companies will soon have to report payments to physicians in a national database, thanks to a little noted section of the health care reform bill called the Physician Payments Sunshine Act.”

  • Hospital safety info shielded from public
    Source: Seattle Pi (Monday March 22, 2010)

    Americans have more information about the safety of their cars than about the hospitals that treat them at their most vulnerable moments.

  • The Worst Time for a Hospital Visit
    Source: NYT Health blog (Thursday March 18, 2010)

    According to a study published this month in the journal Medical Care hospital occupancy, weekend admissions, nurse staffing and the seasonal flu are major factors that increase the risk of dying in a hospital.

  • Video: The Faces of Medical Errors...From Tears to Transparency

    The following films from Transparent Learning are the first in a series of educational stories that feature patient safety advocates including Helen Haskell, Rosemary Gibson and Dr. Lucian Leape.

  • Consumer group: state lags in enforcement of laws on hospital infections, errors
    Source: (Wednesday March 17, 2010)

    Consumers Union’s has been reviewing hospital infection and medical error laws passed in recent years to determine if the state has begun implementing and enforcing these laws and concluded that California has not done it’s job. The state estmates 240,000 Californians a year get a hospital infection and 13,500 die.

  • Transparency and Public Reporting Are Essential for a Safe Health Care System
    Source: Commonwealth Prespectives on Health Reform Brief (Wednesday March 17, 2010)

    Leading patient safey advocate Dr. Lucian Leape released report. He makes a strong statement on public reporting: “Transparency is an idea whose time has come and both hospitals and the public will be better off because of it.” His statement and report are online now.

  • New Resource for Those Dissatisfied with a Health Care Experience
    Source: A Healthy Blog (Thursday March 11, 2010)

    Health Care For All has created an informative website,, to assist patients on how to navigate the complaint process when something goes wrong at the hospital.

  • Taking care with treatment
    Source: Boston Globe (Monday March 8, 2010)

    Author Rosemary Gibson says when medical care is overused, it can cost patients their health and their savings. To attend Rosemary’s March 9th talk at Health Care for All, 30 Winter St., e-mail Deb Wachenheim:

  • Intriguing people for March 1, 2010: Patty Skolnik
    Source: CNN (Monday March 1, 2010)

    Patty Skolnik, Founder of Citizens for Patient Safety, makes CNN’s “Intriguing people” feature. Patty was a speaker on CU’s consumer panel on medical harm at our “To Err Is Human, To Delay Is Deadly” forum in DC. She is a lead advocate in Colorado and nationally on patient safety and doctor accountability issues.

  • Concerns Over 'Metal on Metal' Hip Implants
    Source: New York Times (Wednesday March 3, 2010)

    “Some of the nation’s leading orthopedic surgeons have reduced or stopped use of a popular category of artificial hips amid concerns that the devices are causing severe tissue and bone damage in some patients, often requiring replacement surgery within a year or two.”

  • Attorney General Richard Blumenthal promotes bill to require hospital-specific medical error reporting
    Source: (Monday March 1, 2010)

    “Since 2004, 116 people in Connecticut have died as a result of medical errors in hospitals — most of which were kept secret because of a “gaping legal loophole,” according to the Connecticut Attorney General Richard Blumenthal.

  • Book Review: Safe Patients, Smart Hospitals
    Source: Wall Street Journal (Tuesday February 16, 2010)

    Review of Dr. Peter Pronovost’s new book on challenging a “toxic” medical culture that doesn’t crack down on medical errors.

  • Hospital panel should focus on quality of care
    Source: Concord Monitor (Saturday February 27, 2010)

    Preventing harm will save money

  • Hospital recycling on increase
    Source: The Baltimore Sun (Thursday February 25, 2010)

    Reusing one-time-use tools cuts waste, stirs some concern

  • Public deserves a voice on health quality commission
    Source: Concord Monitor (Thursday February 25, 2010)

    If the New Hampshire Hospital Association has its way, the euphemistically named New Hampshire Health Care Quality Assurance Commission will continue operating without accountability to the public, in closed and secretive sessions and with only hospital and human services representation. That’s a dangerous problem for consumers of health care and for patient safety.

  • Study: Costly Health Care Not Necessarily Best
    Source: NPR; WBUR (Thursday February 25, 2010)

    For some medical conditions, the cost of care does not directly correlate to the quality of care according to a study in the Archives of Internal Medicine.

  • How a checklist can reduce hospital infections
    Source: Baltimore Sun (Thursday February 18, 2010)

    “Hospitals can reduce medical errors and cut unnecessary hospital-related infections with the use of a checklist.”

  • Hospital reviews care of Murtha
    Source: Tribune Democrat (Wednesday February 17, 2010)

    “The Naval Medical Center in Bethesda, Md., confirmed Thursday that it is conducting an inquiry into Rep. John P. Murtha’s gallbladder surgery and his medical care there in late January.”

  • Navy opens review of care Murtha received in surgery
    Source: CNN (Wednesday February 17, 2010)

    The National Naval Medical Center has opened a review of the surgical care provided to the late Congressman John Murtha after the Pennsylvania Democrat died following surgery, a senior U.S. military official told CNN Wednesday.

  • More women dying from pregnancy complications; state holds on to report
    Source: California Watch (Tuesday February 2, 2010)

    More California women dying from pregnancy complications; state holds on to report

  • Stop Running Red Lights AND Pay for Health Care Reform
    Source: Rosemary Gibson, The Treatment Trap (Tuesday February 2, 2010)

    “With all the hand wringing about health care costs, it is possible to cut costs without harming patients. Even better, costs can be reduced while making patients better off. Here’s how.”

  • Editorial: Murtha death raises questions over preventable medical errors
    Source: (Wednesday February 10, 2010)

    The death Monday of Rep. John Murtha (D-Pa.) after complications from gallbladder surgery raises questions about whether the lawmaker was among the nearly 100,000 people who die in U.S. hospitals annually due to preventable medical errors.

  • Study: Two Methodist Health System hospitals have high ICU infection rates
    Source: Dallas Morning News (Wednesday February 3, 2010)

    Dallas-based Methodist Health System had two hospitals with bloodstream infection rates double the national average, according to a Consumer Reports study.

  • Hospitals Rated on Post-Surgery Infections
    Source: CBS News (Wednesday February 3, 2010)

    Consumer Reports has made an online system available which gives consumers access to hospital infection rates.

  • Mercy Medical Center Merced gets low rating in patient survey results
    Source: Merced Sun-Star (Wednesday February 3, 2010)

    A comparison by Consumer Reports of Mercy with hospitals in Turlock and Modesto shows Mercy lags in all areas, including the average cost of a hospital stay.

  • ICU patients at Harlem's North General Hospital 4 times more likely to get deadly infection: report
    Source: New York Daily News (Tuesday February 2, 2010)

    The Consumer Reports Hospital Ratings study, released Tuesday, says North General Hospital’s so-called central line infection rate was 394% worse than the national average – and the worst in the city.

  • Malpractice reports are easier to find
    Source: (Tuesday December 8, 2009)

    NC makes it easier to find malpractice reports.

  • Radiation Offers New Cures, and Ways to Do Harm
    Source: New York TImes (Saturday January 23, 2010)

    Radiation errors can cause severe harm or death for cancer patients.

  • Insurer Anthem invests in hospital initiative to improve safety, cut costs
    Source: LA Time (Wednesday January 20, 2010)

    California’s largest health insurer is teaming with hospitals and doctors throughout the state to better share ways to improve patient safety and cut costs, leaders of the initiative said Tuesday.

  • Hospitals Required To Start Reporting Mistakes

    NH plans to make medical errors and hospital infection information available to the public but does not have a date that they will be available. A very compelling video of medical error victim is also on this page.

  • An Empowered Patient
    Source: The Patient Factor (Tuesday January 12, 2010)

    Canandian medical error survivor Rhonda Nixon organized “The Empowered Patient Conference: Including the Patient in Patient Safety” conference. Speakers included Helen Haskell and Julia Hallisey, authors of “The Empowered Patient.”

  • Calif. Board Reinstates Doctor's License With Fatal Results
    Source: ProPublica (Thursday January 7, 2010)

    According to the California Medical Board, half of the doctors seeking to get lost licenses reinstated this past fiscal year were successful.

  • Patient safety improving slightly, 10 years after IOM report on errors
    Source: American Medical News (Monday December 28, 2009)

    A December 2008 report by Health Affairs does find “unmistakable progress,” despite setbacks. Critics say mandatory disclosure of medical errors is the key to breakthrough safety improvement.

  • Annual Hope Award Winner-Patty Skolnik

    Medically Injured Trauma Support Services (MITSS) honors Patty Skolnik for her work on patients safety through the organization she founded- Colorado Citizens for Accountability.

  • Inept nurses free to work in new locales
    Source: Los Angeles Times (Sunday December 27, 2009)

    An LA Times/ProPublica investigation on nurses who were disciplined for medical errors in one state who hold nursing licenses and may continue to practice (and harm patients) in other states. Using public databases and state disciplinary reports, reporters found hundreds of cases in which registered nurses held clear licenses in some states after they’d been sanctioned in others, often for serious misdeeds. In California alone, a months-long review of its 350,000 active nurses found at least 177 whose licenses had been revoked, surrendered, suspended or denied elsewhere.

  • Oklahoma caregivers fight patient wounds
    Source: NewsOK (Monday December 14, 2009)

    The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services estimate 7 percent of the state’s nursing home residents developed bed sores from 2007 to 2008. During the same time period, the state had the third-highest ranking for pressure ulcers in the country.

  • Leapfrog releases 2009 list of best hospitals for patient safety
    Source: Hearst; Dead By Mistake Blog (Wednesday December 9, 2009)

    Leapfrog sites only five of U.S. News’ 21 best hospitals. View Leapfrogs press release on the top hospitals list.

  • Kent Hospital settles suit with Woods family
    Source: The Providence Journal (Wednesday December 2, 2009)

    The Providence Journal (December 2, 2009)

  • Temp Firms a Magnet for Unfit Nurses
    Source: Propublica and LA Times (Saturday December 5, 2009)

    Firms that supply temporary nurses to the nation’s hospitals are taking perilous shortcuts in their screening and supervision, sometimes putting seriously ill patients in the hands of incompetent or impaired caregivers.

  • Warning: Going to the hospital may be hazardous to your health
    Source: Los Angeles Times health blog (Wednesday December 2, 2009)

    A study published in the December 2nd Journal of the American Medical Assn. by an international group of researchers examined data on 13,796 adult patients from 1,265 hospitals in 75 countries who were unlucky enough to be in an intensive care unit on May 8, 2007. Here’s a summary of what they found: Fifty-one percent of ICU patients had some sort of infection, the longer you’re in the hospital, the more likely you are to become infected. The mortality rate for ICU patients with an infection was 25%, compared with 11% for patients without an infection. Infection rates in North America were slightly below average, at 48%, but the lowest rate was in Africa, at 46%. The highest infection rate was 60%, found in Central and South America.

  • 10 years, 5 Voices, 1 Challenge

    To Err Is Human jump-started a movement to improve patient safety. How far have we come? Where do we go from here? Five patient safety “stakeholders” were interviewed for this article, including the Director of Consumers Union Safe Patient Project, Lisa McGiffert.

  • Dead by Mistake reporter speaks at Consumers Union paitent safety forum

    The forum was called “To Err is Human, to Delay is Deadly” in order to highlight the lack of progress the U.S. health care system has made since the Institute of Medicine’s report “To Err is Human.”

  • Hidden Mistakes In Hospitals
    Source: Hartford Courant (Monday November 16, 2009)

    A state law intended to protect patients by making them aware of hospitals’ errors has ended up making it easier for hospitals to avoid scrutiny. That’s because when hospitals notify the state, the health department keeps most of those reports secret from the public.

  • Dr. Donald Berwick: We Need To Have More Consequences In The Health Care System
    Source: Kaiser Health News (Thursday November 12, 2009)

    Interview with Don Berwick, President of the Institute for Healthcare Improvement on the quality of care and patient safety.

  • How to avoid falling victim to a hospital mistake
    Source: CNN (Friday November 13, 2009)

    The Joint Commission, which accredits hospitals, reports that wrong-site, wrong-side and wrong-patient procedures occur more than 40 times each week in the United States.

  • Rep. Braley (IA) stands up for patients

    Rep. Bruce Braley highlighted the importance of improving patient safety in order to reduce medical malpractice.

  • Rhode Island hospital ordered to have camera's in operating room.
    Source: The Today Show; NBC (Tuesday November 3, 2009)

    Consumers Union Safe Patient Project Director Lisa McGiffert comments on wrong site surgery.

  • Film explores broken health care system
    Source: Dead By Mistake (Saturday October 31, 2009)

    A new documentary film, “Money-Driven Medicine”, tackles the economic underpinnings of an American healthcare system that kills four times as many people through medical error and preventable infections as die in highway accident. Consumers Union has encouraged activists to view this film and take action to make our health care system safer.

  • Money-Driven Medicine Watch-In!

    “Money-Driven Medicine” examines the medical industrial complex, and what’s wrong with our healthcare system. Watch the movie for free here until November 10 and sign our petition for reform.

  • Making Hospitals Pay For Own Mistakes
    Source: CBS Evening News (Tuesday March 18, 2008)

    For decades, the U.S. health care system has paid doctors and hospitals by the services performed, even if those services harmed the patient. Beginning in October 2008, Medicare will no longer pay for some major hospital mistakes.

  • Florida Hospital Confirms Patients Infected by Reused IV Bags
    Source: (Friday October 16, 2009)

    Broward General Medical Center patients received reused IV bags and have tested positive for some infectious diseases.

  • Health care bills sidestep medical errors issue
    Source: Connecticut Post (Friday October 16, 2009)

    Health care legislation now before Congress takes only modest steps to address a problem that is far more deadly than inadequate medical insuance — medical error.

  • MRI die can lead to fatal disease for some
    Source: Business Week (Friday October 16, 2009)

    Many MRI patients are injected with a GE dye to enhance images. If they have weak kidneys, they might develop a rare and sometimes fatal disease.

  • Report finds 9,400 serious errors at N.J. hospitals
    Source: New Jersey Star Ledger (Thursday October 15, 2009)

    The New Jersey Health Department has released the 2009 Hospital Performance Report.

  • Physician misconduct often tolerated by state medical board, analysis finds
    Source: The Dallas Morning News (Sunday October 11, 2009)

    The Dallas Morning News investigates the many holes in the Texas Medical Board review process over the past seven years, leaving patients at risk.

  • California hospitals fined for errors
    Source: Los Angeles Times (Friday September 25, 2009)

    Of 11 facilities cited by the state, about half were penalized for leaving objects in patients after surgery.

  • PA: Hospital report: Mixed ratings

    Readmission rates were lower, but some death rates were up

  • What Josie King's story should teach us
    Source: New Jersey Star Ledger (Monday September 21, 2009)

    Josie King, an 18 month old went to the hospital for burns from hot bath water and later died in the hospital from dehydration and medical error.

  • Patients at UPMC hospital may have been exposed to viruses
    Source: Pittsburgh Gazette (Wednesday September 16, 2009)

    “The Derrick newspaper in nearby Oil City reported yesterday that “a failure to follow equipment sterilization guidelines” at the hospital resulted in “the notification of more than 100 surgical patients. “

  • East of Eden: Why Health Care Got Hijacked Read more at:
    Source: The Huffington Post (Friday September 18, 2009)

    “The American hospital, the center of health care, is a cottage industry in the post-industrial world, and we can save billions of dollars by bringing them into the modern world.”- Clare Crawford Mason.

  • From tragedy to advocacy
    Source: Modern Healthcare (Monday September 7, 2009)

    A determined breed of patient-safety advocates have forged their personal pain into a dedication to improving medical safety.

  • November 12 event: MITSS annual dinner
    Source: Health Care For All (Wednesday September 9, 2009)

    Mark your calendars for the MITSS (Medically Induced Trauma Support Services) annual dinner on Thursday, November 12, 5:30-9:30pm, at the Boston Marriott Copley Place. This is an opportunity to support an organization that does unique and important work supporting patients, families and medical providers impacted by adverse medical events. Learn more on the MITSS website.

  • Jersey forces hospitals to disclose medical errors
    Source: The Star-Ledger (Tuesday September 1, 2009)

    Gov. Jon Corzine signed legislation yesterday giving residents more information about major preventable medical errors that occur in New Jersey hospitals. The law requires the state to release data identifying the hospitals responsible for making certain mistakes — such as surgery performed on the wrong body part, the wrong person, or a sponge or medical tool left inside a patient following a procedure — and the frequency they occur. It also prohibits hospitals from charging for some preventable medical errors.

  • When a Hospital Let Families Call for Rapid-Response Help
    Source: The Wall Street Journal (Monday August 31, 2009)

    A closer look at how families are calling for hospital rapid-response teams directly or at least to demand immediate medical attention from a senior physician if they feel a patient is in trouble and their concerns aren’t being met.

  • Patients Get Power of Fast Response
    Source: The Wall Street Journal (Monday August 31, 2009)

    Tragic loss and patient advocacy has moved some hospitals to explore family-activated rapid-response teams. Patient advocates, Helen Haskell and Julia Hallisy, will launch a website later this month––that will help patients navigate the hospital system and encourage them to alert hospital staff if they sense something has gone wrong.

  • Op-Ed: The Unintended Consequences of "No Pay for Errors"
    Source: The Health Care Blog (Tuesday July 21, 2009)

    Bob Wachter writes: “I remain enthusiastic about ‘no pay for preventable adverse events’ as a clever way to use payment policy to goose the system into focusing on patient safety prevention practices. But for ‘no pay…’ to make a difference, there must be evidence-based prevention strategies to implement.”

  • Doctors' woes don't compare to patients'
    Source: Concord Monitor (Thursday August 27, 2009)

    Letter to the editor on health care reform by patient safety activist Michael Bennett, President of the Coalition for Patients’ Rights.

  • Pitching Patient Safety and Hospital Transparency on YouTube
    Source: Wall Street Journal Health Blog (Monday August 24, 2009)

    Features film trailer for “The Faces of Medical Error…From Tears to Transparency: The Story of Lewis Blackman” (son of patient safety activist Helen Haskell). This is the first in a new patient safety film series that addresses several critical health care issues: prevention of medical errors; how providers and institutions respond when care has caused harm; the important role patients and families can take in their care.

  • Adverse Event Reporting System (AERS) Statistics
    Source: FDA, as of (Tuesday March 31, 2009)

    The Adverse Event Reporting System (AERS) contains over four million reports of adverse events and reflects data from 1969 to the present. Data from AERS are presented here as summary statistics. These summary statistics cover data received over the last ten years.

  • New Jersey Doctors Getting Paid Extra To Save Hospitals Money
    Source: AP (Wednesday August 19, 2009)

    A dozen New Jersey hospitals are paying doctors as an incentive to save the hospitals money.

  • Crucial medical records 'concealed' after deaths at local hospital
    Source: (Tuesday May 12, 2009)

    Medical records were concealed at a Texas hospital involving the medical error death of Linda Carswell’s husband. There was no follow up by the Texas Health Department on any complaints related to concealing or tampering with medical records at any hospital in the state, according to this KHOU investigation.

  • Americans Continue to Die from Preventable Injuries

    Despite an authoritative federal report 10 years ago that laid out the scope of the problem and urged the federal and state governments and the medical community to take clear and tangible steps to reduce the number of fatal medical errors, a staggering 98,000 Americans die from preventable medical errors each year and just as many from hospital-acquired infections.

  • Dead By Mistake
    Source: Source: Hearst Newspapers (Friday July 31, 2009)

    Dead by mistake was researched and written by a team of journalists from across Hearst newspapers and television stations. Hearst describes medical errors as “a critical and neglected health care issue.” Consumers Union’s Safe Patient Project published a report on medical harm, “To Err is Human, To Delay is Deadly” in May 2009.

  • Death by Mistake: Advocates call for mandatory reporting of medical errors
    Source: San Antonio Express-News (Sunday August 16, 2009)

    Consumers Union supports nationwide “MVP” reporting: mandatory, validated (meaning hospital data is audited) and public disclosure at a facility-specific level. Most state reporting systems now divulge only statewide information, which isn’t much help to consumers.

  • Editorial: Why so many needless deaths?
    Source: Albany Times (Tuesday August 11, 2009)

    “You can’t say we weren’t warned. And you can’t say we’ve done enough to address those warnings about the degree of avoidable deaths in hospitals in New York and across the country.”

  • Washington law lacks both money and teeth
    Source: Hearst Newspapers (Thursday July 30, 2009)

    Six years after the “To Err is Human” report, the Washington state Legislature responded with a law mandating medical error reports. State Rep. Tom Campbell, a bill sponsor, envisioned a day when patients could click on a Web site and compare hospitals’ safety records.

  • Medication errors harm millions each year
    Source: St. Louis Today (Sunday August 2, 2009)

    Despite efforts to prevent medication errors, mix-ups like this are occurring across the country with alarming frequency.

  • Basic Patient Safety Reforms Would Save 85,000 Lives and $35 Billion a Year, Public Citizen Report Says
    Source: Public Citizen (Thursday August 6, 2009)

    The report, “Back to Basics,” analyzed the results of scientific studies of treatment protocols for chronically recurring, avoidable medical errors.

  • Did NUMC pass the test?
    Source: (Saturday August 1, 2009)

    The hospital accreditation experience of a Long Island hospital.

  • Simulation center to test new nurses
    Source: Arizona Republic (Monday August 3, 2009)

    It’s part of a nationwide trend spawned by a patient-safety movement after studies a decade ago found that errors in hospitals account for an estimated 40,000 to 90,000 deaths per year.

  • First, Make No Mistakes
    Source: The New York Times (Tuesday July 28, 2009)

    Op-ed by Jim Hall, former chairman of the National Transportation Safety Board. The Obama administration should take a lesson from the transportation safety board’s successes and establish an independent agency charged with identifying and eliminating the causes of medical error.

  • Reps should be commended for fighting for patient rights
    Source: Nashua Telegraph (Thursday July 23, 2009)

    Letter to Editor from Lori Nerbonne thanking lawmakers for passing hospital infection and error reporting legislation.

  • Ranking hospitals now done by many organizations, not just U.S. News & World Report
    Source: Cleveland Plain Dealer (Monday July 27, 2009)

    There’s a movement to make hard numbers the basis for rankings among hospitals, instead of reputation or word-of-mouth.

  • Daily News investigates faked records and fatal blunders at city-run hospitals
    Source: Daily News (Sunday July 26, 2009)

    City-run hospitals faked records and covered up dozens of botched operations, deadly accidents, malpractice and other medical screwups, a Daily News investigation has found.

  • Medication errors harm millions of Americans each year
    Source: Kansas City Star (Saturday July 11, 2009)

    Kansas City Star (July 11, 2009)

  • Is Angioplasty Worth The Risk?
    Source: CBS (Tuesday June 9, 2009)

    Though A Common Medical Procedure, Many Are Performed At Hospitals Unprepared If Something Goes Wrong

  • Blaming the Hospital, A Widow Turns Activist
    Source: The Washington Post (Tuesday July 21, 2009)

    The Washington Post (July 21, 2009)

  • Hospitals Tally Their Avoidable Mistakes
    Source: The Washington Post (Tuesday July 21, 2009)

    Under laws that took effect last year in Virginia and a few years earlier in the District and Maryland, hospitals must report to health regulators many serious injuries that patients suffer in the course of treatment.

  • When Caregivers Harm: Problem Nurses Stay on the Job as Patients Suffer
    Source: ProPublica and Los Angeles Times (Saturday July 11, 2009)

    The board charged with overseeing California’s 350,000 registered nurses often takes years to act on complaints of egregious misconduct, leaving nurses accused of wrongdoing free to practice without restrictions, an investigation by The Times and the nonprofit news organization ProPublica found.

  • Op-ed: Stop hospital-borne infections
    Source: The Courier-Journal (Thursday July 9, 2009)

    Our state needs to take an active and aggressive policy of mandatory public reporting and tracking of HAI. Kentucky should become a leader in health care, but if Kentucky always waits for the majority of other states to act, we will be relegated to being below average.

  • New Ratings for America's Hospitals Now Available on Hospital Compare Website
    Source: Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (Thursday July 9, 2009)

    Important new information was added today to the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services’ (CMS) Hospital Compare Web site that reports how frequently patients return to a hospital after being discharged, a possible indicator of how well the facility did the first time around.

  • Double failure' at USA's hospitals
    Source: USA Today (Wednesday July 8, 2009)

    Too many people die needlessly at U.S. hospitals, according to a sweeping new Medicare analysis showing wide variation in death rates between the best hospitals and the worst.

  • As health data becomes available, patients can demand better care
    Source: Dallas Morning News (Tuesday July 7, 2009)

    This increased transparency is one of the great hopes among health care reformers for tackling the high cost of American medicine.

  • Editorial: Health Care’s Infectious Losses
    Source: New York Times (Sunday July 5, 2009)

    Former Treasury Secretary Paul O’Neil comments on reducing health care costs: “The president says he likes audacious goals. Here is one: ask medical providers to eliminate all hospital-acquired infections within two years.”

  • Medical Malpractice Payments Fall to Record Low, Public Citizen Study Shows

    The only economically feasible and, indeed, humane way to improve the system is to reduce the number of senseless and tragic medical errors in our hospitals. In its report, Public Citizen calls on Congress to put safety measures in place that would set the nation on course to meet the IOM’s goal of cutting the number of avoidable deaths in half in five years.

    READ the report:

  • Springs surgery tech suspected of exposing 5,700 to hepatitis C
    Source: Colorado Springs Gazette (Thursday July 2, 2009)

    Federal officials Thursday warned that about 5,700 surgery patients, including 1,000 at a Colorado Springs surgery center, are at risk of having been infected by an operating room technician with hepatitis C.

  • Nearly 90 major medical mistakes logged at Utah hospitals in 2008
    Source: The Salt Lake Tribune (Monday June 29, 2009)

    There were at least 89 serious medical errors last year in Utah hospitals and surgical centers, up 56 percent from the 57 logged in 2007, according to a Utah Department of Health report requested by The Salt Lake Tribune. These errors may include surgery on the wrong body part or leaving foreign objects like sponges in the body.

  • Video: Problem Doctors Practice Bad Medicine
    Source: ABC News (Sunday June 21, 2009)

    Public Citizen’s report on ineffective hospital peer review (and under-reporting bad doctors to the National Practitioner Data Bank) made ABC World News on Sunday evening, June 21st. Doctors who perform medical errors are not always reported, and hospitals are not penalized for failing to report bad doctors.

  • At V.A. Hospital, a Rogue Cancer Unit
    Source: New York Times (Saturday June 20, 2009)

    NYT story about a Philadelphia VA hospital where many patients received botched cancer treatments.

  • MD: State links billing rates to hospital performances
    Source: (Tuesday June 16, 2009)

    On July 1, the state’s hospitals will receive financial incentives based on the steps taken to prevent complications, including collapsed lungs and infections of the urinary tract and in the blood.

  • VA inspections show continued flaws
    Source: AP (Monday June 15, 2009)

    The VA started a nationwide safety campaign at it’s 153 medical centers calling attention to potential infection risks from improperly operating and sterilizing the equipment.

  • Editorial: Mandatory reporting makes hospitals safer
    Source: Concord Monitor (Thursday May 14, 2009)

    Lori Nerbonne of New Hampshire Patient Voices writes in support of a bill for funding hospital infection rate reporting and an adverse event reporting bill, which will require hospitals to report serious, completely preventable errors to the state.

  • MD hospital fined for not reporting errors
    Source: Washington Post (Monday June 15, 2009)

    The hospital failed to notify the Department of Health that a patient had died and that at least seven others suffered serious harm last year as a result of mistakes by the medical staff.

  • Health Outcomes Driving New Hospital Design
    Source: New York Times (Monday May 18, 2009)

    Single-patient rooms are now viewed as an important element of high-quality health care.

  • U.S. Health Care System Fails to Protect Patients From Deadly Medical Errors

    Consumers Union Assesses Lack of Progress Ten Years After Institute of Medicine Found Up To 98,000 Die From Preventable Errors

  • Report: about 98,000 Americans still die annually from medical errors
    Source: China View (Friday May 22, 2009)

    The Consumers Union report said lawmakers largely have failed to enact patient safety reforms recommended by a 1999 report by the Institute of Medicine that found that medical errors cost the U.S. as much as 29 billion U.S. dollars a year.

  • Top medical mistakes in orthopedics include equipment, communication errors

    53% of orthopedic surgeons reported medical errors in the past 6 months!

  • Preventable Medical Errors Still Kill Thousands, Cost Billions as Employers Foot Bill
    Source: Workforce Management (Wednesday May 20, 2009)

    Despite a landmark report a decade ago detailing the deadly nature of the U.S. health care system, a consumer group finds that little has been done to prevent errors that cost the nation $17 billion to $29 billion and kill as many as 100,000 patients annually.

  • Deadly Medical Errors Still Plague U.S.

    Report Shows 10-Year Effort to Curb Medical Errors Yields Few Results

  • U.S. group sees little progress on medical errors
    Source: Rueters (Tuesday May 19, 2009)

    Despite a decade of promises, little has been done to fix the problem of preventable medical errors that kill nearly 98,000 people in the United States each year, a consumer group said on Tuesday.

  • Historic Initiatives for Consumer Information and Patient/Provider Partnerships Approved

    The Massachusetts Public Health Council approved regulations to implement major patient safety reforms passed last year, including public reporting of hospital infections and serious medical errors, no-pay policies for certain preventable medical errors, and requiring every hospital in the state to have a Patient and Family Advisory Council and a rapid response system that can be activated by patients and their families.

  • Government Reports Criticize Health Care System
    Source: New York Times (Wednesday May 6, 2009)

    Two annual government reports released Wednesday show that progress in improving the quality of health care and narrowing health disparities among ethnic groups remains agonizingly slow, and that patient safety may actually be declining.

  • Preventable hospital errors / No patient should pay
    Source: Press of Atlantic City (Wednesday May 6, 2009)

    Billing patients or their private insurance company for the cost of medical mistakes would change under a bill that’s cleared the state Senate and is now before the Assembly. The bill would prevent hospitals from charging anyone for serious medical errors. The legislation would also require the state to make public individual hospitals’ errors.

  • The Devil Inside Wired Medicine
    Source: Forbes Magazine (Monday May 11, 2009)

    Electronic records might make medicine safer and cheaper. But it might just digitize the worst flaws of today’s system, where errors are rampant and basic recommended treatments often fall through the cracks.

  • New Jersey bill would require reporting of "never" events
    Source: AARP Bulletin Today (Wednesday April 1, 2009)

    From February 2005 through December 2008, New Jersey hospitals reported 1,817 medical errors to the state’s Department of Health and Senior Services. Of that number, 251 resulted in deaths. But consumers have no way of knowing where these errors occurred; the law keeps hospital-specific information secret. A bill making its way through the legislature would lift that veil.

  • Legislature passes MRSA-prevention hospital guidelines
    Source: Nisqually Valley News (Monday April 13, 2009)

    The state Senate today concurred unanimously with the House in passing tough new procedures to help prevent the spread of infections acquired in hospitals and other health facilities.

  • Wrong baby given to nursing mom at NH hospital
    Source: Concord Monitor (Monday April 6, 2009)

    A couple whose day-old baby was given to the wrong mother to nurse in a hospital is demanding answers about how it happened.

  • Editorial: Medical Mistakes
    Source: The Philadelphia Inquirer (Tuesday March 10, 2009)

    New Jersey legislation would give public hospital-specific information on medical errors.

  • Victims of medical errors testify
    Source: Concord Monitor (Wednesday February 18, 2009)

    NH bill will require public reporting of adverse events.

  • Medical community collaborates to cut medication errors and infections
    Source: Cleveland Plain Dealer (Tuesday January 20, 2009)

    A group of Ohio business leaders and 24 hospitals has launched what it hopes will become a statewide effort to reduce hospital medication errors and infections. Solutions for Patient Safety, as the effort is called, takes place as the state is preparing to publish hospital quality data, including some infection rates, on the Web for consumers.

  • KY Health Care Transparency Conference

    The main topics of the conference were healthcare acquired infections, never events and healthcare transparency. Lisa McGiffert (Director of Stop Hospital is a featured speaker.

  • Conference will address MRSA and 'never events'
    Source: Lexington Herold Leader (Friday November 14, 2008)

    Issues surrounding hospital-acquired infections and other medical events “that should never happen” will highlight a health care conference in Lexington next week.

  • NH hospitals not required to publicize mistakes
    Source: Union Leader (Monday October 13, 2008)

    Legislators are considering passing a law requiring New Hampshire’s 26 hospitals to publicly report their “never events” to the state.

  • In-hospital errors go unreported in NH
    Source: Union Leader (Sunday October 12, 2008)

    Unlike 27 other states, New Hampshire does not require hospitals to report serious, preventable medical errors to the state, to the patient or to the family left behind if the patient dies as a result of the mistake.

  • Editorial: Medicare to Slash Payments for Medical Errors
    Source: Washington Post (Wednesday October 1, 2008)

    And in another development, federal officials late last week approved a new company to begin inspections as part of its often criticized hospital accreditation program.

  • Editorial: First, do no harm
    Source: Houston Chronicle (Wednesday October 1, 2008)

    Medicare is right to stop paying hospitals for treating reasonably preventable medical errors

  • Medicare Won’t Pay for Medical Errors
    Source: New York Times (Wednesday October 1, 2008)

    On Wednesday, Medicare will start applying that logic to American medicine on a broad scale when it stops paying hospitals for the added cost of treating patients who are injured in their care.

  • Medicare won't pay for hospital mistakes anymore
    Source: New Jersey Star Ledger (Wednesday October 1, 2008)

    New federal regulations target 11 hospital-acquired conditions that are considered reasonably preventable.

  • Errors don’t warrant pay, insurers say
    Source: Chattonooga Times Free Press (Monday April 7, 2008)

    As the federal Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services moves to deny Medicare payments for conditions caused by hospital mistakes, hospital executives here are watching private insurers in Tennessee and nationwide follow suit.

  • Many in NJ are medical errors victims
    Source: The Record (Thursday March 6, 2008)

    More than a third of New Jersey residents surveyed say they or a family member have been a victim of a medical error, and 90 percent would like the state to publicly report the number of errors at each hospital.

  • Patients still stuck with bill for medical errors
    Source: (Friday February 29, 2008)

    11 states waive fees for worst mistakes, but most will charge you or insurer

  • Medicare won’t pay hospitals for medical errors
    Source: Associated Press (Tuesday February 19, 2008)

    Medicare will start hitting hospitals where it hurts in October, and other insurers are hot on the trail.

  • Medicare Will Not Pay For Hospital Mistakes And Infections, New Rule
    Source: Medical News Today (Monday August 20, 2007)

    CMS said that the new rules will not only improve the quality of care for Medicare benificiaries, but will save millions of taxpayer dollars every year.

  • US Hospital Errors Continue to Rise
    Source: Washington Post (Monday April 2, 2007)

    HealthGrades shows rise in post-operative sepsis

  • Making hospitals safer
    Source: CBS Evening News (Tuesday February 6, 2007)

    Katie Couric interviews Dr. Donald Berwick about the Institute for Healthcare Improvement’s campaign to reduce medical errors, including hospital infections.

  • Hospitals' dirty secret
    Source: Modern Healthcare (Monday November 27, 2006)

    New reports reveal pattern of deadly and expensive, yet preventable, medical errors.

  • $21 million grant to fight medical mistakes, hospital infections in South Carolina
    Source: WLTX-TV (Tuesday August 15, 2006)

    A $21 million grant coming to South Carolina aims to improve patient care and prevent unnecessary hospital deaths.

  • Over 250,000 die from potentially preventable medical errors under Medicare
    Source: Health Sentinel (Monday April 17, 2006)

    A new report by HealthGrades concludes that as many as 950 preventable deaths occur each day from medical errors and other patient safety incidents, including hospital infections.

  • Medical errors still claiming many lives
    Source: USA Today (Wednesday May 18, 2005)

    A new article in the Journal of the American Medical Association reports that little progress has been made in the past five years to reduce deaths caused by medical errors in U.S. hospitals.

  • Report finds 80 pct of US doctors witness mistakes
    Source: Silence Kills (Wednesday January 26, 2005)

    Report finds that most nurses and doctors witness medical errors, but few speak up when they see them. Requires a short registration.

  • Why do so many still die needlessly in hospitals?
    Source: USA Today (Thursday August 5, 2004)

    When a report came out last week from a private group claiming that nearly 200,000 hospital patients die each year from preventable medical errors, it promptly sparked a fierce controversy.

  • EDITORIAL -- Ill-advised secrecy: Open records, competition helped health care under some states' laws
    Source: Omaha World-Herald (Thursday December 11, 2003)

    Voluntary reporting systems to track and improve hospital error and infection rates don’t work well. Only public disclosure and reporting laws passed in some states have been successful. “Americans concerned about their health care should urge their senators to kill the misnamed Patient Safety and Quality Improvement Act,” states the editorial.

  • Editorial: The Right to Know / Information on hospital performance needs to remain accessible to public
    Source: The Buffalo News (Friday October 3, 2003)

    The United States Senate is on the verge of approving legislation that could decrease the quality of hospital care in New York and elsewhere around the country. It needs to take a moment to be sure it doesn’t. The Patient Safety and Quality Improvement Act allows hospitals to shield medical error data from public scrutiny. It adopts a popular and plausible theory that holds that doctors will own up to mistakes, thereby improving the practice of medicine, if they feel they are not sacrificing their careers. But the bill may have other, more insidious effects, if critics such as Consumers Union are correct.

Research and Reports

  • Health Watch USA Newsletter (July 2014)
    Source: Health Watch USA (Monday June 30, 2014)

    Patient safety news presented by KY-based Health Watch USA.

  • Health Watch USA Newsletter (June 2014)
    Source: Health Watch USA (Monday June 16, 2014)

    Patient safety news presented by KY-based Health Watch USA.

  • Dr. Kevin Kavanagh breaks down rankings of Kentucky hospitals in this table
    Source: Health Watch USA (Sunday August 10, 2014)

    Dr. Kevin Kavanagh breaks down rankings of Kentucky hospitals in this table

  • Patient Safety America Newsletter (April 2014)
    Source: Patient Safety America (Tuesday April 1, 2014)

    Summary from John James: For many around the country spring cannot come too soon. Sadly, spring will not come again for too many Americans who sought only to be healed of their illness, and instead experienced a preventable adverse event that harmed them to death. I am sad for those who lost loved ones in the Oso mudslide and in the Malaysian jet disappearance, but far, far more human lives were cut short by suboptimal medical care. I offer this month’s newsletter as a tribute to all who have been lost in the last month to medical errors. They are nameless like the Unknown Soldier; however, few pay any attention to their passing.

    Newsletter contents this month are as follows:
    • Harm to nursing home patients
    • C diff infections – kids and adults
    • Do you really need a transfusion?
    • White-coat infections
    • Beware high-dose acetaminophen
    • Surgical site infections in out-patients
    • Hospital-dependent patients
    • Infections from endoscopes

  • Patient Safety America Newsletter (March 2014)
    Source: Patient Safety America (Friday February 28, 2014)

    Summary from John James: “Spring’s renewal of life has arrived in my neighborhood with robins hopping around and trees budding. I saw a spectacular red-bud tree yesterday near a bayou. One must hope that our country will renew its efforts to intelligently manage the way healthcare is delivered in America. As far as I can tell the non-system is not working well for anyone but a few medical specialists. This month’s newsletter addresses the following topics:

    • Continuing efforts to identify and discontinue worthless tests and treatments
    • The over use of Pap tests in older women
    • The failure of renal artery stenting to add value to optimal medical treatment
    • Welcome evidence that patient safety is improving in some instances
    • Trust and mistrust of medical guidelines
    • The case for less mammography screening
    • Ways smoking can be further reduced
    • Troubled peer review in VA hospitals
    • The case for improving management of obesity in very young children

    I might note that just as this issue was “going to press” the Houston Chronicle ran a front page story called “Preschooler Obesity Plunges.” It explained that there has been a 43% drop in obesity rate in 2-5 year old children during the past decade.”

  • Patient Safety America Newsletter (February 2014)
    Source: Patient Safety America (Sunday February 2, 2014)

    Summary from John James: “The first article in this month’s newsletter describes the new guidelines for management of high blood pressure and the second speaks to new guidelines for healthy living. Both sets of guidelines seem to me to be more realistic than previous ones. In keeping with the guideline theme, the third article summarizes how “patient preferences” could be integrated into evidence-based medical guidelines. This is an important area because patient-centered care must be consistent with your preferences.

    I was surprised to read the complications that result from tonsillectomies, so I wrote about that in the 4th article. Treating healthcare associated infections is expensive; find out how expensive in the 5th article. Informed consent, the subject of the 5th article, is often denied patients, despite the sham paperwork that often accompanies the pre-surgical process. The concluding article summarizes how the perverse incentive of money affects the care received by nursing home patients with advanced dementia and an acute illness. If you are looking after such a person, then you need to be aware of the incentives to over-treat.”

  • Patient Safety America Newsletter (January 2014)
    Source: Patient Safety America (Sunday December 29, 2013)

    Summary by John James: As this traditional holiday season passes into history, I hope you have found peace and joy as you celebrated with family and friends. We face a new year that has many uncertainties, not the least of which is how to get quality, affordable healthcare. My January newsletter is probably not going to help you feel better about those uncertainties.
    The lead feature this month is a book review of “How We Do Harm” by Otis Brawley, MD. The other articles are as follows:

    • A new way to dramatically improve care in a children’s hospitals
    • Medical care that refuses to bend to evidence-based guidelines
    • The cost of lost lives from having no health insurance
    • The possible health benefit of eating nuts
    • Over-diagnosis of lung cancer
    • A proposal to deal with Medicaid patients
    • Dealing with seasonal weight gain

  • Patient Safety America Newsletter (December 2013)
    Source: Patient Safety America (Sunday December 8, 2013)

    Summary from John James: “December’s newsletter is a little late due in part to a long and joyful visit of my daughter’s family. Her two little children remind me that there is a good reason why old folks are not new parents – insufficient energy! These little ones also remind me that each generation must pass along better ways to the next generation. Automobile safety, industrial safety, and aviation safety have improved greatly since the days when I was a young man with small children, yet the safety of medical care has lagged other industries. This month I emphasize some reasons for that situation: lack of patient access to information, perverse incentives that drive up costs and put patients in harm’s way, costs that cause harm to people who cannot afford care, insufficient evaluations of hospital quality, failure to help patients with addictive behaviors, barriers to transparency, and inadequate management of hospital patient loads. Yes, it’s all a mess.”

  • Patient Safety America Newsletter (November 2013)
    Source: Patient Safety America (Thursday October 31, 2013)

    Summary from John James: “The devastation wrought by hurricane Sandy leaves us full of empathy for those who lost loved ones and homes. When disaster unfolds suddenly, we notice it as the news media graphically magnifies the events on our TVs. The disaster that comprises much our medical industry quietly unfolds as medical errors occur in hospitals spread across the nation, and no one is there to produce graphic images of the death and suffering. In an attempt to display some of the suffering, my November newsletter begins with a review of the book “Unaccountable” by Marty Makary, MD. I was not fully aware of the endemic nature of the dangers lurking in hospitals.

    The first two articles deal with medical errors – the first on diagnostic errors and the second on errors of omission. On page 3 I take a look at recent misdeeds of big Pharma, and then deal with ethical issues associated post-marketing drug testing on patients. A business model suggests that providers should start giving us what we really want – health – not medical care. Finally, we have a look at why hospital prices continue to escalate. I hope you find these stories informative.”

  • Patient Safety America Newsletter (September 2013)
    Source: Patient Safety America (Wednesday August 28, 2013)

    John James’ summary: “Young children often grow up in a world where everything is about their needs, both perceived and real. Wise parents work against this self-centered worldview so that by the time children become adults, they understand that they are not the center of the universe. There is one circumstance where this view must be discouraged – medical care. When receiving medical care you should be the center of all that can be reasonably done for your wellbeing – with you giving informed permission for anything invasive.

    In reality, medical care, although headed in the direction of patient-centered care, has a long way to go. My newsletter’s first article demonstrates this reality. The second suggests that intense care is not usually patient-centered for critically ill patients; furthermore, the money we spend on medical care can be misspent, in part due to the fee-for-service scheme that doctors prefer. The third article describes how stress from medical bills can become pervasive, especially for the uninsured.

    The fourth article slams the FDA for not enforcing a law that requires drug makers to do additional testing of their drugs, and a fifth criticizes Congress for not requiring stronger control of compounding companies. The newsletter ends with an article on regulating those who could misinterpret images, and with another article on cancer-drug makers who downplay the side effects of their potent products.”

  • Patient Safety America Newsletter (August 2013)
    Source: Patient Safety America (Saturday August 3, 2013)

    This month is the 5 year anniversary of the first issue of Patient Safety America Newsletter. In those years of reading medical journals and writing to inform patients of the hazards of medical care, I have learned some difficult realities.

    Perhaps foremost is that when people want to believe that their healthcare system is safe and just, their opinions are not going to be easily swayed by data and facts, regardless of how reliable the source may be. Secondly, people want to believe that physicians always have their interest at heart; this naïve supposition is not easily replaced by caution when seeking medical care. Thirdly, most people are less interested in preventing their own poor health than getting treatment when a preventable disease has gotten the best of them. Finally, most people cannot view the healthcare industry in terms of how it affects less fortunate Americans – for them it is about me and my healthcare.

    This month’s newsletter speaks about questionable drug prescribers, important new views of salt and high blood pressure, cautions for those with sleep apnea, unstable relationships between doctor and patient, and finally why can’t we pay more attention to disease prevention.

  • Patient Safety America Newsletter (July 2013)
    Source: Patient Safety America (Friday July 5, 2013)

    Summary by John James: Having spent some time lately with elderly members of my extended family, I am reminded how important healthcare is to those who suffer from collections of debilitating illnesses. As the saying goes, “Getting old is not for sissies.” That journey can be made better or worse by the healthcare system through which the elderly seek to be healed or at least sustained. The newsletter topics this month center on bias and dangers in the current medical care system. The topics are as follows:

    1) Dealing with impaired doctors.
    2) Who is buying your doctor?
    3) Getting rid of fee-for-service medical care.
    4) How to reduce overuse of medical services.
    5) Potassium as an important food-labeling target.
    6) A sleep aid that is causing too many ER visits.
    7) Continuing bad news on American infant mortality.
    8) Intrusion of government to protect its citizens.

    In key places I have given links to further information that you can use to become a more informed patient.

  • 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:

  • 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.

  • Become an Empowered Patient with this New Decision Support App

    The Empowered Patient® Decision Support web app is a series of ten questions that help identify areas in which patients may need help and support when making health care decisions. The app produces a streamlined pdf report of areas where the patient feels confident and decisive – and areas in which the patient may need information and guidance.

  • Ambulatory Surgery Centers: Big Business, Little Data
    Source: California Healthcare Foundation (Thursday June 13, 2013)

    California HealthCare Foundation Report: A growing number of Californians are being sent to ambulatory surgery centers for a wide variety of procedures, yet little is known about the care they deliver because reporting is not required.

  • Program leads to changes in culture to protect patients from medical errors
    Source: St. Louis Area Business Health Coalition (Friday June 7, 2013)

    This issue brief discusses how a program developed by a physician at Johns Hopkins Hospital is being used by hospitals across the country, including in our region, to prevent medical errors.

  • Patient Safety America Newsletter (June 2013)
    Source: Patient Safety America (Friday June 7, 2013)

    Summary by John James: I hope this month’s newsletter might prepare you to be a more defensive patient when you need medical care:

    • Many nursing home residents receive lengthy antibiotic treatments, placing them at risk of super infections.
    • Off-label prescribing of a narcolepsy drug places many at risk of serious side effects.
    • Surgeons might leave some surprising things in your body.
    • How would you like to see your surgery on video?
    • Did you know Medicare has some dumb policies?
    • Sloppy management practices are common in cardiac care units.
    • Do you know what a contextual medical error is? You should.

  • Patient Safety America Newsletter (May 2013) - Practical Advice
    Source: Patient Safety America (Wednesday May 1, 2013)

    The May newsletter includes summaries that are targeted to alert patients to ways to manage risk and cost: outpatient diagnostic errors, shopping for a hip replacement, too much calcium, radiation risk to your heart, screening for cervical cancer, and finally a series on patient-safety “progress.”

  • Patient Safety America Newsletter (April 2013)
    Source: Patient Safety America (Sunday March 31, 2013)

    Summary by John James: “Changes are long overdue in American healthcare as pointed out by the Institute of Medicine and National Research Council in their new book “The US health Disadvantage Relative to Other High-income Countries.” My first newsletter article attempts to summarize this report. In the second article I discuss the risks associated with sleeping pills. The third article considers legislation that often has collateral damage. The fourth involves one doctor’s view of how he was led into care that was not patient centered. My next two articles deal with mental health: 1) As we age, we all fear the loss of mental capabilities, but a new study has linked mid-life fitness with a reduction in the risks of dementia. 2) Young people often do not have access to mental health facilities as pointed out by experts writing in the JAMA. The next articles deal with unintended death from pharmaceuticals and with loss of confidence in drug companies. The newsletter concludes with a short piece on the vanishingly small value of robotic surgery for those who might need a hysterectomy.”

  • What to Do if You Have a Concern about Quality in a New York Hospital
    Source: Informed Patient Institute (Thursday March 28, 2013)

    This tip sheet explains steps you can take within the hospital to deal with your concerns about quality of care. It also tells you how to contact the places that regulate or oversee hospitals. You can also consider filing a lawsuit, but that is not the focus of this tip sheet.

  • Health Watch USA Newsletter - March 2013
    Source: Health Watch USA (Wednesday March 27, 2013)

    Patient safety news collected by Health Watch USA.

  • The Empowered Patient Decision Support Web app
    Source: The Empowered Patient Coalition (Friday March 1, 2013)

    The Empowered Patient Decision Support web app is a series of ten questions that help identify areas in which patients may need help and support when making health care decisions.

  • Empowered Patient Coalition Training
    Source: The Empowered Patient Coalition (Friday March 1, 2013)

    Free online training courses for patients, family members, caregivers, etc

  • What to Do if You Have a Concern about Quality in a South Carolina Hospital
    Source: Informed Patient Institute (Friday March 1, 2013)

    This tip sheet explains steps you can take within the hospital to deal with your concerns about quality of care. It tells you how to contact the places that regulate or oversee hospitals.

  • What To Do If You Have a Concern About Quality in a South Carolina Nursing Home
    Source: Informed Patient Institute (Friday March 1, 2013)

    This tip sheet explains steps you can take within the nursing home to deal with your concerns about quality of care. It tells you how to contact places that regulate or oversee nursing homes.

  • Hospital Discharge Preparation Checklist (pdf)
    Source: Robert Wood Johnson Foundation (Thursday January 31, 2013)

    Care About Your Care Discharge Checklist & Care Transition Plan

  • Patient Safety America Newsletter (February 2013)
    Source: Patient Safety America (Friday February 1, 2013)

    This month’s topics include injury risk from common medications, unnecessary testing, and unsafe injection practices in outpatient settings

  • Health Watch USA Newsletter - January 28, 2013
    Source: Health Watch USA (Saturday January 28, 2012)

    Patient safety news collected by Health Watch USA.

  • NEJM Perspective: Post-Hospital Syndrome — An Acquired, Transient Condition of Generalized Risk
    Source: New England Journal of Medicine (Thursday January 10, 2013)

    Article by Dr. Harlan Krumholz on a condition of generalized risk after patients are discharged from the hospital.

  • Interactive Chart: Bonuses And Penalties For U.S. Hospitals
    Source: Kaiser Health News (Thursday December 20, 2012)

    KHN: Last fall, seeking to improve care and save money, Medicare announced penalties to hospitals to which too many patients returned within a month. Both payment changes are applied to payments for every hospital stay of a Medicare patient. This chart shows the effect of each of those programs on hospitals’ Medicare reimbursements per hospital stay, and the combined effect for the federal spending year that runs from last October through September 2013. Hospitals could gain up to 1 percent in payments or lose as much as 2 percent from the two programs combined.

  • Patient story of wrong-site surgery
    Source: AHRQ (Wednesday October 1, 2003)

    AHRQ Case and Commentary by Charles Vincent, PhD: Patient story of wrong-site surgery

  • Patient Safety America Newsletter (January 2013)
    Source: Patient Safety America (Tuesday January 1, 2013)

    John James, Ph.D., Patient Safety America: “This month I address the discriminatory medical care system in this country. Why are the poor left behind when they need competent medical care? Next – why does Medicare keep spending your tax dollars on procedures that are not “necessary and reasonable?” What is behind the 29+ deaths that resulted from injection of the fungal-contaminated medication from a compounding company? The answer might surprise you. On the controversial front, I summarize an article critical of overuse of mammography screening. Why do prescription pain killers kill at least 16,000 Americans per year? How can a medication be dispensed to you when your doctor has ordered it stopped? Be wary of these potentially dangerous practices.”

  • Health Watch USA Newsletter - December 20, 2012
    Source: Health Watch USA (Thursday December 20, 2012)

    Patient safety news collected by Health Watch USA.

  • Medical Malpractice Caps by State [Infographic]
    Source: Business 2 Community (Thursday January 3, 2013)

    Medical Malpractice Caps by State [Infographic]

  • Preventing Wrong-Site Surgery in Minnesota: A 5-Year Journey
    Source: Patient Safety & Quality Healthcare (Saturday December 1, 2012)

    Wrong-site surgery procedures in Minnesota are beginning to change practices and outcomes

  • Patient Safety America Newsletter (December 2012)
    Source: Patient Safety America (Saturday December 1, 2012)

    John James, Patient Safety America: “This month I write about the so called ‘war on cancer’ in terms of those who are losing the battle to stay alive. Do they know that the chemotherapy that is making them so ill is not going to cure their disease? Do those who undergo screening for cancer know the risks they are taking on? What should we do about the overuse of imaging? Why do we continue to do human experimentation on premature babies with uncontrolled and unapproved procedures? Isn’t it time to stop this potentially risky practice on these little one? The obesity epidemic is growing like a plague in the United States – Are there new drugs that could reverse the trend toward more obesity and more chronic illness? Nursing homes are risky places for infections – here’s one you may not have thought about – norovirus. Finally, would you like electronic access to your doctor’s notes?”

  • Health Watch USA Newsletter - November 15, 2012
    Source: Health Watch USA (Sunday November 11, 2012)

    Patient safety news collected by Health Watch USA. Health Watch USA 2012 Conference Information Now Online. Over 140 participants were at the 2012 Health Watch USA Conference. Topics included Shared Decision Making, Overutilization, Value Purchasing and Patient Engagement. Presentations now online include: Dr. Leana Wen, Dr. Joycelyn Elders, Dr Said Abusalem, and Rosemary Gibson. To view presentations and PowerPoints go to:

  • New Data for Healthcare Acquired Conditions
    Source: Federal Register (Friday August 31, 2012)

    New Data has been posted for 2010 for CMS’s policy of recouping money for Healthcare Acquired Conditions. The data is not much different from the previous year. See Chart F Estimated Net Savings of Current HACs.

  • Patient Safety America Newsletter (November 2012)
    Source: Patient Safety America (Wednesday October 31, 2012)

    Review of book “Unaccountable” by Marty Makary, MD. The first two articles deal with medical errors – the first on diagnostic errors and the second on errors of omission. On page 3 I take a look at recent misdeeds of big Pharma, and then deal with ethical issues associated post-marketing drug testing on patients. A business model suggests that providers should start giving us what we really want – health – not medical care. Finally, we have a look at why hospital prices continue to escalate.

  • Health Watch USA Newsletter - October 23, 2012
    Source: Health Watch USA (Tuesday October 23, 2012)

    Patient safety news collected by Health Watch USA.

  • Safe, Portable Bed Rails: There's No Such Thing
    Source: Biomedical Safety & Standards (Thursday November 15, 2012)

    Patient safety article on bed rails and bed rail deaths. According to BSS, the FDA has reports of more than 525 deaths associated with the use of bed rails. The Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) has reports of more than 155 deaths as well.

  • Empowered Patient Hospital Guide For Patients and Families
    Source: The Empowered Patient Coalition (Thursday October 18, 2012)

    Free hospital care guide to help patients navigate the health care system and avoid harm.

  • Patient Safety America Newsletter (October 2012)
    Source: Patient Safety America (Sunday September 30, 2012)

    1) The first order of business is to mark the passing of Dr. Barbara Starfield, a champion of improving medical care, especially through more emphasis on primary care.
    2) Most of us have had a urinary catheter inserted for some reason or other, and it seems that the vast majority of the time infections associated with these are not evident in billing records.
    3) Several articles that I review deal with overbilling and over-diagnosis, two pillars of our current medical industry.
    4) A troubling article from Archives of Surgery enumerates the dependence many surgeons have on use of alcohol. You might be surprised at the findings.
    5) The refusal of Jehovah’s Witness patients to accept blood transfusions after heart surgery offered an opportunity to study the need for such transfusions, with surprising outcomes.
    6) Finally, I summarize information suggesting that a lot of money could be saved each year if drug-eluting stents were used with more evidence-based discrimination in patients receiving coronary artery stents.

  • IOM report: "Best Care at Lower Cost"
    Source: Institute of Medicine (Thursday September 6, 2012)

    The Institute of Medicine releases a new report “Best Care at Lower Cost,” that identifies three major imperatives for health care system change: the rising complexity of modern health care, unsustainable cost increases, and outcomes below the system’s potential. Issues recommendations to achieve needed transformation.

  • The Assertive Patient
    Source: The Assertive Patient (Monday September 10, 2012)

    A Guide to Speaking Up When You Are Dissatisfied With A Health Care Experience by Health Care For All.

  • NEJM Perspective: Justice for Injured Research Subjects
    Source: New England Journal of Medicine (Thursday July 5, 2012)

    Carl Elliott, M.D., Ph.D. examines the policies that don’t protect injured clinical research subjects in the US.

  • Nursing Home Inspect
    Source: ProPublica (Tuesday August 14, 2012)

    Use this ProPublica tool to search more than 20,000 nursing home inspection reports, most completed since January 2011, and encompassing nearly 118,000 deficiencies. You can search by state or by the severity level of the deficiencies cited. The default search ranks results by the severity level of the problem found.

  • Report: Sick, Scared and Separated from Loved Ones
    Source: NYPIRG (Wednesday August 8, 2012)

    New report by New Yorkers for Patient & Family Empowerment and the New York Public Interest Research Group urging hospitals to have patient-centered visiting policies and to respect the patient’s right to decide who can visit.

  • GAO investigation on injection safety
    Source: GAO (Friday July 13, 2012)

    The Government Accountability Office (the group that inspects activities happening within government agencies) has recently released a report on injection safety efforts currently underway at CDC and CMS. See page 26 of the report for a summary list of all of the outbreaks associated with unsafe injection practices.

  • Patient Safety America Newsletter August 2012
    Source: Patient Safety America (Wednesday August 1, 2012)

    Newsletter by John James, Ph.D.: This month’s newsletter includes a book review of “The Last Collaboration,” an artistic chronicle of a mother trying to help her seriously ill daughter run the gauntlet of hospital care. Other articles address the patient’s unfortunately small role in identifying drug side effects, a new way to make wise choices in your care, a dangerous surgery that the FDA has warned against, over-diagnosis of pulmonary embolism, and heart risks from a commonly used antibiotic. In addition, I have discussed two cancers – ovarian cancer and melanoma. You need to know about these.

  • Health Watch USA Newsletter July 27, 2012
    Source: Health Watch USA (Friday July 27, 2012)

    Patient safety news and links from Health Watch USA.

  • HHS report: Few Adverse Events in Hospitals Were Reported to State Adverse Event Reporting Systems
    Source: US Department of Health and Human Services (Thursday July 19, 2012)

    HHS OIG report: An estimated 60 percent of adverse and temporary harm events nationally occurred at hospitals in States with reporting systems, yet only an estimated 12 percent of events nationally met State requirements for reporting. Hospitals reported only 1 percent of patient harm events.

  • Patient Safety America Newsletter (June 2012)
    Source: Patient Safety America (Monday May 28, 2012)

    In this issue: Book review of The Take-Charge Patient–discussed risks associated with dual-chamber implanted defibrillators, and surveyed the promise of comparative effectiveness research. The latter holds hope that one day we will be able to make informed and cost effective decisions about medical care. Last article deals with how difficult it will be to control healthcare spending in the face of of monumental waste in healthcare costs.

  • Patient Safety America Newsletter (May 2012)
    Source: Patient Safety America (Monday April 30, 2012)

    Newsletter features a detailed discussion of screening procedures, potentially dangerous medical devices and health care costs.

  • is a snapshot of online cesarean rate reporting in the United States as of January 2012. The site compiles the most current hospital-level data accessible to the public online, whether reported directly by a state’s department of health or gathered from state hospital association web sites via pull-down menus.

  • Patient Safety America Newsletter (February 2012)
    Source: Patient Safety America (Wednesday February 1, 2012)

    Newsletter covers topics of over diagnosis and overtreatment, the underreporting of medical harm events, and allowing the voice of patients to be heard in reporting medical errors.

  • Connecticut Adverse Event Report (2011)

    The CT Department of Public Health releases its first hospital specific adverse event report.

  • Patient Safety America Newsletter (December 2011)

    Monthly patient safety newsletter by John T. James, Ph.D. of Houston, TX.

  • Trends in Pregnancy-Associated Maternal Death in Virginia, 1999-2008

    Maternal mortality is increasing in VA

  • Adverse Events in Hospitals: Medicare's Responses to Alleged Serious Events

    Medicare hospital oversight failed to address serious medical errors such as medication and surgical errors, physical abuse by hospital staff, and patient suicide.

  • The Joint Comission responds to coalition of patient safety consumer groups regarding The Joint Comission's complaint process

    Response letter from The Joint Commission President, Mark Chassin, to patient safety advocates who called on the organization earlier this month to improve responsiveness to patient complaints.

  • Too Little? Too Much? Primary Care Physicians' Views on US Health Care

    Study: Nearly half of all primary care physicians in the United States think that their own patients are receiving too much medical care, and more than one-quarter believe that they themselves are practicing too aggressively.

  • Consumer groups seek Senator Harkin to help in making Medicare accreditation surveys public

    Patient safety consumer groups, including Consumers Union, seek Senator Harkin to help in making Medicare accreditation surveys public.

  • Consumer groups call on The Joint Commission to improve responsiveness to patient complaints

    A coalition of patient safety consumer groups, including Consumers Union, wrote a letter to the Joint Commission to improve responsiveness to patient complaints.

  • 2010 State Snapshots

    Information about the quality of care in your state by the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality. Charts and individual state performance summaries based on more than 100 quality measures such as preventing pressure sores, screening for diabetes-related foot problems, and giving recommended care to pneumonia patients.

  • The Empowered Patient Video

    In the year 2000, 8000 children died of medical error in hospitals. Parents and advocates have joined together to try to improve quality and change healthcare policy.

  • Patient Safety Webinars

    Past and future webinars on patient safety.

  • Testimony on Healthcare Acquired Infections and Public Reporting

    Presentation by Kevin Kavanagh, MD on Healthcare Acquired Infections and public reporting which was given to the Kentucky Joint Senate and House Committee on Veterans, Millitary Affairs and Public Protection.

  • What To Do If You Have a Concern About Quality in a Pennsylvania Nursing Home

    This tip sheet explains steps you can take within the nursing home to deal with your concerns about quality of care. It tells you how to contact places that regulate or oversee nursing homes.

  • What to Do if You Have a Concern about Quality in a Pennsylvania Hospital

    This tip sheet explains steps you can take within the hospital to deal with your concerns about quality of care. It tells you how to contact the places that regulate or oversee hospitals.

  • NJ Ambulatory Surgery Centers: Quality and Safety Information

    New Jersey Department of Health and Senior Services information on the issues surrounding quality in ambulatory surgery centers. Info on how to file a complaint about an ambulatory surgical center and how to get a copy of individual inspection reports.

  • Consumers' Priorities for Hospital Quality Improvement and Implications for Public Reporting

    Report by the Center for Healthcare Decisions describes consumer perceptions of health care quality and provides new insights for those involved in public reporting.

  • AHRQ: Medication-Related Adverse Outcomes in U.S. Hospitals and Emergency Departments, 2008

    The number of people treated in U.S. hospitals for illnesses and injuries from taking medicines jumped 52 percent between 2004 and 2008 – from 1.2 million to 1.9 million – according to the latest News and Numbers from the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality. These medication side effects and injuries resulted from taking or being given the wrong medicine or dosage.

  • Partnership for Patients: Better Care, Lower Costs

    U.S. Department of Health & Human Services description of its new patient safety initiative.

  • Nurse Staffing and Inpatient Hospital Mortality

    When nurse staffing levels fell below target levels in a large hospital, more patients died, a new study discovered.

  • Reducing Hospital Readmissions--Lessons from Top-Performing Hospitals

    Report of four case studies of hospitals with low readmission rates.

  • Medicare releases hospital specific data

    Medicare released hospital specific data on hospital-acquired conditions – preventable errors that happened to hospital patients covered by Medicare over a 21-month period. This spreadsheet, which is available in a ZIP FILE, reveals only a small fraction of the 1 in 4 hospital medical errors, but is the first time this information has been made public. Later this year, the information will be presented on Hospital Compare in a more consumer-friendly format.

  • Patient Experience of Overtreatment

    Editorial by Rosemary Gibson and Deborah Grady on the “Less Is More” series in the Archives; publishes research to help identify areas of medical care in which harm outweighs benefit. While most medical care is helpful or even lifesaving, not all medical care is good.

  • What To Do If You Have a Concern About Quality in a Maine Nursing Home

    Advice and resources for dealing with quality concerns

  • What to Do if You Have a Concern about Quality in a Maine Hospital

    Advice and resources for dealing with quality concerns

  • First Do No Harm

    “Last year there wasn’t a single fatal airline accident in the developed world. So why is the U.S. health care system still accidently killing hundreds of thousands? The answer is a lack of transparency.”

  • What To Do If You Have a Concern About Quality in a New York Nursing Home

    Steps you can take if you are concerned about the quality of care in a NY nursing home.

  • Study on rates of patient harm in medical care

    Study finds one in four hospital patients are harmed.

  • Adverse Events in Hospitals: National Incidence Among Medicare Beneficiaries

    An estimated 134,000 Medicare beneficiaries (13.5 percent) experienced at least 1 adverse event in hospitals during the 1-month study period.


    “The California Department of Public Health (CDPH) announced today that 12 California hospitals have been assessed 14 administrative penalties after a determination that the facilities’ noncompliance with licensing requirements has caused, or was likely to cause, serious injury or death to patients.”

  • Wrong-Site and Wrong-Patient Procedures in the Universal Protocol Era

    Abstract: Colorado study of physician self-reported adverse occurrences finds high frequency of surgical errors despite implementation of a surgical protocol that seeks to prevent them; researchers identified a total of 25 wrong-patient and 107 wrong-site procedures between January 2002 and June 2008.

  • Dangerous Dialysis

    Article about the common errors (including infection) that occur in dialysis units.

  • Events that are never supposed to happen in state hospitals (graphic)

    Graphic of some of the adverse events reported by California hospitals over the past two fiscal years.

  • One in four patients experiences revolving-door hospitalizations

    Over a 2-year period, roughly one-quarter of all hospital patients were readmitted for the same conditions that prompted their initial hospitalization, according to the latest data from the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality.

  • Eliminating Mistakes To Improve Patient Safety

    “Nearly one in five adverse events is due to erroneous diagnoses made by physicians.”

  • Medical Malpractice & Errors

    A series of articles on medical malpractice in Health Affairs outlines the real cost of malpractice in the U.S.

  • What You Need to Know Before Having an MRI Scan

    The magnetic field of the MRI scanner may exert forces on certain implanted objects that are susceptible to the effects of the magnetic field, potentially causing the object to move within the body, which could result in serious harm. Learn how you can help protect yourself.

  • What You Can Do to Prevent Wrong-Site Surgery

    Know what steps you can take to prevent a wrong-site surgery from happening to you or a loved one.

  • Preventing the Retention of Foreign Objects during Interventional Radiology Procedures

    Patient injury reports indicate that it is important to use radiopaque sponges during any IR procedure in order to prevent the retention of foreign objects following IR procedures.

  • Safety in the MR Environment: MR Screening Practices

    In 2008, the Pennsylvania Patient Safety Authority received approximately 150 reports describing events in which the magnetic resonance (MR) clinical screening process was inadequate and, in some cases, erroneously permitted patients with implanted pacemakers and other ferromagnetic objects into the MRI scanner room.

  • Medication Errors Occurring in the Radiologic Services Department

    Nearly 1,000 event reports submitted to the Pennsylvania Patient Safety Authority specifically mentioned medication errors that occurred in care areas providing radiologic services.

  • Pennsylvania Patient Safety Authority 2009 Annual Report

    PA annual report on state activities relating to hospital infections and medical errors.

  • What To Do If You Have Concern About Quality in a California Nursing Home

    Steps you can take if you are concerned about the quality of care in a CA nursing home.

  • What to Do if You Have a Concern about Quality in a California Hospital

    What to do if you are concerned about your hospital’s quality of care and links to resources that can help. It addresses steps you can take within a hospital or with organizations that regulate or oversee hospitals.

  • Medical Errors State Reporting (Map)

    The Hearst Newspapers have created a color coded map of state reporting systems for medical errors. States collect a variety of data in different ways. The amount of information available to the public also differs from state to state.

  • Adverse Events in Hospitals: Methods for Identifying Events (pdf)

    OIG report on the sad state of medical error reporting.

  • The Silence

    When our health care system remains silent about preventable medical harm it only creates more problems.

  • March 2010 Pennsylvania Patient Safety Advisory

    In 2008, there were 57,852 readmissions in Pennsylvania, amounting to approximately $2.5 billion in charges. In reported events involving the use of insulin products, 52% of the events led to situations in which a patient may have or actually received the wrong dose or no dose of insulin.

  • Iowa Infection Rates

    Des Moines hospital posts rates of hospital infection and patient falls, two common medical harm events.

  • Neonatal Complications: Recognition and Prompt Treatment of Shoulder Dystocia

    Between June 2004 and October 2008, the Pennsylvania Patient Safety Authority received 316 reports involving shoulder dystocia. Neonatal injuries were identified in 124 (39%) of these reports and included fractures, brachial plexus injuries, and death.

  • Quarterly Update on the Preventing Wrong-Site Surgery Project: Improving, But Still Room for Perfection

    Wrong site surgery incidents are decreasing, but analysis of anesthesia related errors indicates that “time out” should be done prior to administration of anesthesia, instead of prior to incision.

  • Maryland: All-Payer Approach to Nonpayment

    Learn about Maryland’s efforts to alter its payment system for preventable hospital acquired conditions and events that harm patients.

  • Minnesota: Comprehensive Quality Improvement and Payment Reform

    Learn about Minnesota’s efforts to alter its payment system for preventable hospital acquired conditions and events that harm patients.

  • Kansas: Medicaid Mirrors Medicare Policy on Adverse Events

    Learn about Kansas efforts to alter its payment system for preventable hospital acquired conditions and events that harm patients.

  • Missouri: Focus on Nonpayment for Adverse Events

    Learn about Missouri’s efforts to alter its payment system for preventable hospital acquired conditions and events that harm patients.

  • Nonpayment for Preventable Events and Conditions: Aligning State and Federal Policies To Drive Health System Improvement

    A new report on state and federal nonpayment policies for preventable hospital acquired conditions and events that harm patients.

  • State Patient Safety Initiatives and Nonpayment for Preventable Events and Conditions

    A new report on state and federal nonpayment policies for preventable hospital acquired conditions and events that harm patients.

  • US Office of Inspector General on public reporting of medical harm (PDF)

    U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (Jan 2010)

  • Nevada Sentinel "Never Events" list

    The Nevada Hospital Association has a list of all sentinel events for 2005, 2006, 2007, 2008 by hospital type; sentinel event type and sentinel event outcome.

  • Department of Health Issues Compliance Order to Rhode Island Hospital

    The Rhode Island Department of Health cites Rhode Island Hospital for surgical errors; the full deficiency report, indicating failure to follow standard safety procedures, and compliance order can be found at:

  • PA: Hospital Mortality Rates Decline; Reducing Readmissions Represents Cost and Quality Opportunities

    A report shows that PA hospitals had a significant decrease mortality rates associated with hospital readmissions compared to the previous year. Readmissions often are due to complications or infections – in this case, the cause of 22,094 of PA readmissions, which accounted for almost $1.1 billion in charges and 157,000 hospital days. The report found that readmissions for complication or infection comprise 38.2% of all readmissions in PA.

  • CA: List of hospital fines by county

    See if hospitals in your county have had administrative penalties issued by the California Department of Public Health.

  • State report of enforcement actions against Texas hospitals July 2008--July 2009

    Texas Department of State Health Services

  • Beyond the Count: Preventing the Retention of Foreign Objects

    Analysis on how to prevent “retained foreign objects” or “RFOs” from the PA Patient Safety Authority.

  • IOM Vision for Reducing Medical Errors Not Yet Realized

    Has the U.S. made any progress on patient safety since the Institute of Medicine (IOM) released To Err is Human in 1999?

  • IN: Medical error reporting system ( 2007)

    Report date: August 25, 2008

  • Rehospitalizations Among Patients in the Medicare Fee-for-Service Program

    A study of Medicare hospital records from 2003 and 2004 found that 1 in 5 patients was readmitted within 30 days, and half of non-surgical patients were rehospitalized without having seen an outpatient doctor in follow-up. In 2004 Medicare paid $17.4 billion to hospital for these readmissions. Readmissions are often avoidable and connected with problems in the hospital (like an infection) or with aftercare.

  • Report: The Direct Medical Costs of Health Care Associated Infections in US Hospitals and the Benefits of Prevention

    According to the CDC, the overall annual direct medical costs of hospital acquired infections to U.S. hospitals ranges from $28.4 to $33.8 billion.

  • Adverse events in hospitals: Overview of key issues

    Department of Health and Human Services, Office of Inspector General report on issues ranging from public and confidential reporting of adverse events, variations in estimates of adverse events, underreporting, measurements and nonpayment policyies for adverse events.

  • AHRQ's Patient Safety Organization Web site

    Agency for Healthcare Quality and Research (AHRQ) website for Patient Safety Organizations. The concept of PSOs is to collect data on medical harm while shielding the information from the public in order to encourage reporting by hospitals and doctors. All information obtained by the PSO’s is confidential and voluntary, which fails to inform consumers about how well their health care providers are doing on patient safety.

  • NY Comptroller finds many hospitals underreport medical errors

    A comprehensive study issued today by the Office of the Comptroller William C. Thompson Jr., found that many New York City hospitals substantially underreport “adverse events” to the New York State Department of Health (DOH).

  • Adverse Events amoung Medicare patients

    This GAO study found that 15% of hospitalized Medicare beneficiaries in two selected counties experienced an adverse event during their hospital stay.

  • Adverse Events in Hospitals: State Reporting Systems

    Department of Health and Human Services Office of Inspector General Report


    Department of Health and Human Services Office Of Inspecter General Report

  • Like Night and Day - Shedding Light on Off-Hours Care

    The consequences of service deficiencies during off-hours include higher mortality and readmission rates, more surgical complications, and more medical errors. Given the health care industry’s renewed focus on ensuring patient safety and providing high-quality medical care, why hasn’t the situation changed at the “other hospital”?

  • New Medicare rules on non-payment for hospital infections and other medical errors

    Rules go into effect October 1, 2008.

  • The Institute for Healthcare Improvement has now signed up over 2900 US hospitals to participate in their 100,000 Lives campaign

    The Institute for Healthcare Improvement has now signed up over 2900 US hospitals to participate in their 100,000 Lives campaign. The purpose of the campaign is to save lives by using proven methods to prevent hospital-acquired infections and medical errors. Consumers should know about these life-saving practices and if

  • Patient Safety

    Minnesota releases adverse events report released. The report identifies 27 different “medical errors” (such as operating on the wrong part of the body or wrong patient) and “adverse events” (such as patient falls, suicide, and abduction), it does not include hospital-acquired infections. A new bill filed in the MN legislature (HF 87) will require inclusion of hospital infections in the future.

  • Suicidality in pediatric clinical trials

    GlaxoSmithKline (GSK) performed an analysis of suicidal behaviors in their paroxetine pediatric clinical trial database, and found that there was a statistically significant increase in suicide-related adverse events for paroxetine-treated subjects compared to placebo.