Keep Me Safe:  Make Patients & Families 1st

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 stroke, 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.  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.

Here’s what we’re doing.

We’re working to put the focus back on the patient and family in every aspect of healthcare.

Our signature program, the campaign to Keep Me Safe MakePatients & Families 1st™, 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 to change 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. We’ve created a suite of innovative tools, and bold policy prescriptions, to improve healthcare outcomes, promote patient safety and empower patients and families, based on our huge accumulated knowledge base of patient and family experiences that have been shared with us from the beginning.

Last year, we added the call for a national strategy to remove gender-based disparities in healthcare for women to our public policy advocacy. It is an important initiative intended to address long evidenced barriers and stereotypes that add to the health risks women face and produce unacceptable levels of preventable harm. We’ve also calling for an urgent national re-thinking about suicide prevention, which is becoming a public health crisis within some communities and populations. We were the first to urge the creation of a national 988 suicide prevention hotline for Canada. You can read more about our work here.

And we operate the world’s first Online Outreach Clinic that has helped the most vulnerable patients and families in everything from showing them how to obtain their medical records to intervening with the hospital care team to repair serious breakdowns in communication.

Very often desperate patients and families facing life and death situations tell us they have nowhere elsewhere to turn.  That happens a lot in the middle of the night, on weekends and on holidays.  We have always answered that call for help. We have never charged for this service.

The pages on this site provide 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.

Silence and inaction are the bacteria that allow this epidemic of hospital harm to continue. If you agree that more needs to be done to end the healthcare virus 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. Join our campaign to Keep Me Safe:  Patient & Families 1st. Share your story about hospital harm. You can change the lives of countless patients and families for the better. Maybe even your own.

Consider making a donation, since all of The Center for Patient Protection’s great work is being done without any government funding or provider support.  All of the operating costs of The Center and its Online Outreach Clinic are paid by its founder, Kathleen Finlay.

All our lives are touched by the quality of healthcare we and our loved ones receive. We think our campaign answers the question posed by a great champion of the compassionate conscience, and which no truly civilized person can turn from answering.