Patient Safety

February 10, 2012 • Volume 22, Issue 6
Are health care providers doing enough to prevent harm?
By Barbara Mantel


Lisa Strong of Davie, Fla., after a misdiagnosis, doctors were forced to amputate her lower arms and lower legs to save her life (AP Photo/J. Pat Carter)
Lisa Strong of Davie, Fla., went to a hospital in severe pain from kidney stones. When she developed life-threatening septic shock after a misdiagnosis, doctors were forced to amputate her lower arms and lower legs to save her life. A jury rejected her claim for $75 million in damages. (AP Photo/J. Pat Carter)

More than 12 years have passed since a groundbreaking report on preventable patient deaths in hospitals alerted the nation to a crisis in patient safety. Galvanized into action, the federal government poured money into research and training, patients and families formed advocacy groups, private and government insurers began refusing to reimburse medical institutions for the most serious preventable injuries and hospitals developed systems to track patient harm at the insistence of accreditation agencies. Yet patients continue to suffer high levels of death and injury from medical errors, and the health care industry, government regulators, insurers and patient advocates are struggling to figure out how to tackle the problem. Bloodstream infections caused by contaminated catheters are among the most dangerous threats, and hospitals are taking strong steps to prevent them. Meanwhile, medical experts are debating the value of patient involvement in safety procedures.

ISSUE TRACKER for Related Reports
Mar. 27, 2020  The Health Care Industry
May 18, 2018  Clinical Trials
Nov. 21, 2014  Reforming Veterans' Health Care
Feb. 10, 2012  Patient Safety
Aug. 13, 1999  Hospitals' Financial Woes
Jul. 18, 1986  For-Profit Hospitals
Nov. 14, 1980  The Hospice Movement
Jan. 16, 1963  Problems of the Hospitals
Nov. 17, 1948  Financial Problems of Voluntary Hospitals
Medical Profession and Personnel