Keep Me Safe — Make Patient Protection 1stSM
Nearly every 60 seconds, someone dies in a hospital in the United States or Canada for a reason that was largely preventable. The cause is not some unavoidable disease. It is the hospital itself. Medical errors in the hospital setting claim up to half-a-million lives every year, according to recent estimates. They represent the third leading cause of death in both countries and claim more lives than strokes, Alzheimer’s, kidney disease, breast cancer, and accidents involving trains, airlines and automobiles, combined.
More than 40,000 harmful events occur in a U.S. hospital every day (Canada does not make equivalent figures available). The chance of being harmed in a hospital setting is placed at one in three, according to a respected study. Recently, the prestigious Institute of Medicine (IOM) predicted that most Americans will be the victim of a wrong medical diagnosis in their lifetimes, each with the potential for devastating consequences.
The costs of these errors and breakdowns in patient safety reach well into the multi-billions of dollars. But the emotional harm to families, including the aftermath of events where patients and families seek reasons for what happened and frequently encounter a wall of silence from the hospital involved, is beyond calculation.
While efforts have been made over the years to reduce the scale and impact of this epidemic, it is clear that there has not been enough progress. As Sir Liam Donaldson, M.D., one of the leading thinkers on patient safety, has said,…”too many healthcare organizations espouse the goal of safer care while regarding harm as the cost of doing business.” The Center for Patient Protection believes that sufficient progress will not be made until public concern reaches the point where legislators, policy makers and healthcare providers treat the epidemic of hospital harm as the healthcare emergency it is.
To that end, our signature program, the campaign to Keep Me Safe — Make Patient Protection 1stSM, seeks to directly engage the public, healthcare policy makers and legislators more fully through a combination of public advocacy, outreach programs and bedside and provider tools designed to produce better outcomes for patients and families. Our campaign builds on The Center’s ongoing interactions with patients and surviving family members who share a common voice in seeking a change to healthcare systems that produce too much avoidable harm and emotional trauma and require higher standards of transparency and accountability in every aspect of patient and family interaction.
The pages on this site, along with the blog of The Center’s founder and her regular Huffington Post columns, provides a rich background of further information, resources and values that drive our campaign and inform our sense of urgency in championing change and the cause of so many patients and families who have been harmed. Please take the time to learn more about this important challenge.
If you agree that more needs to be done to end the epidemic of hospital harm that is killing patients, devastating families and adding needless costs to our healthcare systems every day, we would like to hear from you. Tell us what you think, and how you would like to help. Become a champion for better patient safety and join our campaign to Keep Me Safe — Make Patient Protection 1stSM. Share your story about hospital harm if you have one. You can change the lives of countless patients and families for the better. Maybe even your own.