Read Kathleen Finlay's new interview with Harvard's Dr. Ashish Jha

What’s the latest thinking on patient safety from leading experts and family advocates who have experienced hospital harm? To answer that question, The Center for Patient  Protection is talking with the top movers and shakers on subjects that are of vital importance to patients, families and everyone who values safe care, delivered in a transparent setting and free from the staggering human and financial costs of preventable medical harm.  More...

The Center for Patient  Protection is an independent champion of safer healthcare, helping patients and families become informed, engaged and protected in their hospital experience. We work to raise awareness of the epidemic of hospital harm that claims up to half-a-million patients in the United States and Canada each year, promote patient safety and family well-being in the hospital setting in real time, work with the best providers in building a safe and healing healthcare culture, and advocate for greater transparency in the disclosure of medical errors and safety performance indicators.       More about us...

  1. Become Informed

    Learn about the epi­demic of hos­pi­tal harm that takes 500,000 patients in U.S. and Cana­dian hos­pi­tals every year and injures mil­lions more.  Explore the issue on our web­site and by click­ing the links to rec­om­mended resources and fur­ther read­ing. View the videos we have col­lected. Write your elected rep­re­sen­ta­tives and ask what they are doing to make patients care safer and to end the epi­demic of hos­pi­tal harm.   Read about the mother of The Center’s founder, who had more med­ical errors inflicted on her than any­one in patient safety his­tory, and who is now the inspi­ra­tion for our cam­paign to com­bat hos­pi­tal harm and make Patient Pro­tec­tion 1st

    Infor­ma­tion is power. In the health­care set­ting, it can mean the dif­fer­ence between life and death. Most of the patients and fam­i­lies we have spo­ken with over the years expressed a sim­i­lar thought:  If only they had known about the risks posed to them or to a loved one in the hos­pi­tal, they would have been much more vig­i­lant, more ques­tion­ing and more engaged.  Too many who were affected by hos­pi­tal harm find them­selves racked by remorse and anger that they were not.  

    Don’t let you or your fam­ily be among them. 


  2. Become Pro­tected

    A safe patient is a ques­tion­ing patient who under­stands the real­ity of today’s health­care sys­tem and, espe­cially, its hos­pi­tal set­ting. It is also a patient who has the ben­e­fit of a vig­i­lant fam­ily or advo­cate who knows that they, too, are a vital part of a loved one’s health­care safety net.  

    Whether you are a patient or a fam­ily mem­ber, let your health­care providers know that you are aware of the seri­ous prob­lem of med­ical errors that claims half-a-million patients in U.S. and Cana­dian hos­pi­tals every year and results in 40,000 inci­dents of harm every day.

    Med­ical errors that lead to injury and death occur at every stage of the hos­pi­tal­iza­tion process.  They include med­ica­tion errors, infec­tions from var­i­ous types of pneu­mo­nia to C. dif­fi­cile, pres­sure ulcers, falls, and mis­takes in surgery that see tow­els and sponges left in the patient or even oper­a­tions on the  wrong patient entirely.

    Tell your providers firmly, but politely — or have a fam­ily mem­ber or advo­cate tell them — that you don’t intend to become another sta­tis­tic.  Let them know that you expect every step will be taken by the hos­pi­tal and those who per­form care to  put your safety, and respect for the role of your fam­ily in your hos­pi­tal­iza­tion, first in every­thing they do.   The links below pro­vide a good start­ing point for learn­ing what is involved in the required stan­dard of safe care.  

    You can also check out our Ten Rea­sons for Mak­ing Patient  Pro­tec­tion 1st,  which sets out the kind of care you are enti­tled to expect and the best providers always deliver.

    When it comes right down to it, no patient or fam­ily can ever be expected to know all the steps that can and should be taken in their care; but they can and should expect that health­care work­ers and pro­fes­sion­als do and will.  Nor can they know all the evidenced-based rec­om­men­da­tions and best prac­tices that should be fol­lowed for their safety; but they are enti­tled to rely upon providers and pro­fes­sion­als to fol­low them.  There is no sub­sti­tute for a health­care cul­ture that actu­ally makes Patient Pro­tec­tion 1st, and is com­mit­ted to deliv­er­ing the high­est stan­dards of trans­parency and account­abil­ity nec­es­sary to achieve it. 

    Mak­ing sure that more patients and fam­i­lies insist upon a safer health­care cul­ture, and more providers adopt it, is the dri­ving force behind the cre­ation of The Cen­ter for Patient  Pro­tec­tion and its cam­paign to make Patient  Pro­tec­tion 1st.



  3. Become Engaged

    There’s a good rea­son why hos­pi­tal harm is everybody’s busi­ness.  One way or another, we all pay the costs of med­ical errors — as patients and fam­i­lies, con­sumers, employ­ers and tax­pay­ers.  If we’re lucky, we’ll just pay  in higher health insur­ance pre­mi­ums or increased taxes.  Med­ical errors in hos­pi­tals add tens of bil­lions of dol­lars to health­care bills every year.  Some actu­ar­ial experts have put the total fig­ure, includ­ing direct and indi­rect costs, at closer to one tril­lion dol­lars annu­ally. But the sad fact is that many of us pay for this avoid­able epi­demic with much more than higher insur­ance pre­mi­ums and tax bills.  We pay for it with the lives of loved ones and the dev­as­ta­tion of families.  

    Take a look at our projects and causes. Decide if there are any you would like to become involved with.  Become a cham­pion of patient safety your­self. Let us know how you would like to help. If you have a story about med­ical harm, con­sider shar­ing it.  Help pro­mote our cam­paign to make  Patient Pro­tec­tion 1st your web site or blog, or on Twit­ter, Face­book and other social media.  Tell us about your ideas to end the epi­demic of hos­pi­tal harm and how we can improve our mes­sage here.

    Together, we can shine a dis­in­fect­ing spot­light where it belongs: on the dev­as­ta­tion caused by the epi­demic of hos­pi­tal harm and the steps needed to end it — start­ing with what works best for patients and fam­i­lies, and by mak­ing Patient Pro­tec­tion 1st in every aspect of care.

Even 1950s Hollywood Knew About Medical Errors

What Do Patients and Families Want?

What do patients and families want when it comes to healthcare, and especially, during a hospital stay? The Center for Patient  Protection believes that is a question that needs to occupy the attention of more healthcare providers and professionals. 

We spoke with patients and families around the world, sought the views of renowned experts, and studied thousands of pages of patient safety literature in the field.  When it comes right down to it, what patients and families want is really quite simple. Above all, they want patient safety, first, last and always.  More ...

Our Top 10 List

Why Patients and Families Need Patient Protection 1stSM

Reason # 10

It’s called health care -- not health harm.

Reason # 9

Hospital-acquired infections never send a calling card before they show up in a patient’s room. But patients and families will always know after they’ve arrived.

Reason # 8

You're a professional healthcare worker who has a problem remembering to perform hand hygiene before and after patient contact. Have you seen Reason #9 above? Do you need to consider another line of work?  More...

From Hospital Harm to Healing Virtues


Lorraine Finlay Healing Healthcare Virtues(sm)The Cen­ter is guided in every­thing we do by what we call The Lor­raine Fin­lay  Heal­ing Health­care Virtues of Pru­dence, Hope, Respect, Com­pas­sion, Patience, Dili­gence, Integrity, Open­ness, Fair­ness, Kind­ness towards all. They are named after the mother of The Center's founder, who experienced more documented medical errors during her six-month hospitalization than any patient in the history of patient safety literature. These are the val­ues that per­sonal expe­ri­ence, research and con­ver­sa­tions with patients and fam­i­lies around the world have told us are piv­otal in deliv­er­ing safer, more affirm­ing care. Read full story...


Anatomy of Harm

A Regular Series that Looks at the Most Common Forms of Medical Injury


Of all the serious types of hospital harm, pressure ulcers form the largest single category.  They injure more than 2.5 million patients in U.S. and Canadian hospitals each year, claim at least 60,000 lives and add more than $11 billion annually in treatment costs to the healthcare system in the U.S. alone. Most of these injuries, deaths and costs are avoidable.  Read more...

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