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Keep Me Safe —  Make Patients & Fam­i­lies 1stSM

We wouldn’t tol­er­ate jum­bo jets crash­ing every week or bridges col­laps­ing and tak­ing tens of thou­sands with them every month.  So why do we accept med­ical errors in the hos­pi­tal set­ting which claim, in the U.S. and Cana­da com­bined, hun­dreds of thou­sands of lives every year? Med­ical errors  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 U.S. hos­pi­tals every day. 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 Patients & Fam­i­lies 1sttSM, seeks to direct­ly engage the pub­lic, health­care pol­i­cy mak­ers, leg­is­la­tors, health­care pro­fes­sion­als and patients and fam­i­lies in a more robust exam­i­na­tion of the caus­es of med­ical errors and solu­tions to reduce them. 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 by requir­ing 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 & Fam­i­lies 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.