ProPublica

Journalism in the Public Interest

Cancel

Patient Safety

Dr. Christine Cassel said she is voluntarily stepping down from directorships at two health care companies that have an interest in the National Quality Forum’s work. More »

Join the patient safety conversation, get regular updates and analysis and contribute to our ongoing reporting. More »

Dr. Marty Makary, author of the new book, "Unaccountable," explains why patient harm persists and what can be done about it. More »

When patients suffer injuries, infections or medical errors while undergoing treatment, Helen Haskell, founder of Mothers Against Medical Error, recommends they take six action steps. More »

All 50 Stories (0)

  updates since last visit

Patient Safety Journal Adjusts After an Eye-Opening Scandal

Kickback allegations against its former editor prompted the Journal of Patient Safety to review his writings and adopt new standards for disclosing commercial conflicts of interest.

Q&A: What Can U.S. Health Care Learn from the Ebola Outbreak?

Are Patient Privacy Laws Being Misused to Protect Medical Centers?

A 1996 law known as HIPAA has been cited to scold a mom taking a picture of her son in a hospital, to keep information away from police investigating a possible rape at a nursing home, and to threaten VA whistleblowers.

We’re Still Not Tracking Patient Harm

Top patient-safety experts call on Congress to step in and, among other steps, give the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention wider responsibility for measuring medical mistakes.

Beyond Ratings: More Tools Coming to Pick Your Doctor

For years, patients have had few ways to compare doctors beyond their reputations. With a huge Medicare data release this week, that may soon change.

Rocky Mountain High or Reefer Madness? Legal Pot in Colorado Comes with Risks

A reporter returns to his hometown and confronts the new reality of legalized marijuana.

So You’ve Become a Patient Safety Statistic – Now What?

Six recommended steps to take if you've suffered harm in a medical facility.

Ad Endorsing da Vinci Robot Violated U of Illinois Policies, Review Finds

When surgical team members endorsed the robot in an ad, controversy ensued. An internal review finds no ill intent, but says policies were violated, calls for clearer rules.

One Third of Skilled Nursing Patients Harmed in Treatment

A study by Medicare’s inspector general of skilled nursing facilities says nearly 22,000 patients were injured and more than 1,500 died in a single month — a higher rate of medical errors than hospitals.

Health Quality Group Rethinks Drug Endorsement

The National Quality Forum says it is considering “substantive changes” to guidelines that recommend a surgical antiseptic at the center of a kickback scandal.

Citing ‘Distraction,’ Quality Forum CEO Resigns Board Seats

Dr. Christine Cassel said she is voluntarily stepping down from directorships at two health care companies that have an interest in the National Quality Forum’s work.

When a University Hospital Backs a Surgical Robot, Controversy Ensues

The former head of a prestigious Boston hospital found it unsettling that the surgical staff of an Illinois university medical center endorsed the medical device in an ad in the New York Times Magazine. After he started asking questions, the hospital asked that the ad be suspended.

Payments to CEO Raise New Conflicts at Top Health Quality Group

The National Quality Forum says it approved allowing Dr. Christine Cassel collect six-figure compensation to serve on the boards of health care companies affected by the group’s work.

Senator Cites ‘Serious Concerns,’ Demands National Quality Forum Records

Following a ProPublica report, Sen. Charles Grassley wants to know what steps the country’s leading health quality group has taken to avoid commercial conflicts-of-interest.

Hidden Financial Ties Rattle Top Health Quality Group

After an adviser is accused of taking kickbacks, the National Quality Forum launches a review of its widely used patient safety guidelines.

Ten Patient Stories: When Attorneys Refused My Medical Malpractice Case

Dozens of readers responded to our post about Ernie Ciccotelli, who couldn’t get a lawyer to pursue his claim for damages from a life-threatening infection he acquired in the hospital.

Patient Harm: When An Attorney Won’t Take Your Case

Studies show that nine of 10 patients seeking a medical malpractice attorney won’t find one —  women, children and the elderly in particular.

Five Takeaways: Why Doctors Stay Mum About Mistakes Their Colleagues Make

Why Doctors Stay Mum About Mistakes Their Colleagues Make

Telling a patient about another doctor’s medical error can mean losing business or suffering retribution. Now, some physicians are looking for ways to break the code of silence.

How Many Die From Medical Mistakes in U.S. Hospitals?

An updated estimate says it could be at least 210,000 patients a year – more than twice the number in the Institute of Medicine’s frequently quoted report, “To Err is Human.”

One Step Closer To Getting Her Husband’s Heart Back

Since the mysterious death of Linda Carswell’s husband, a Texas hospital has kept his heart on ice. This week, an appeals court lifted an order blocking Carswell’s family from retrieving it.

Introducing the Voices of Patient Harm

Have you been affected by patient harm? Help us capture the stories behind the statistics by sharing your story and photo with us on Tumblr.

Prescriber Checkup Q&A

ProPublica reporters explain the data behind Prescriber Checkup, the first database to reveal what medications doctors and other providers are giving patients under Medicare’s Part D prescription drug program.

MuckReads Podcast: The Good Nurse

Over the course of his 16-year career as a registered nurse, Charles Cullen murdered at least 40 patients – making him one of the most prolific serial killers in American history. Author Charles Graeber chronicled Cullen’s killing spree in his book, The Good Nurse, and shares the chilling backstory.

Your Hospital May Be Hazardous To Your Health

As part of our ongoing investigation into patient safety, ProPublica reporters Marshall Allen and Olga Pierce produced this interactive story in collaboration with PBS Frontline and Ocupop during a May 11-16 hackathon.

The Story Behind Our Hospital Interactive

In a five-day hackathon, ProPublica and PBS Frontline team up to create an interactive story exploring six myths about hospitals and patient safety.

Discussion: How to Improve Accountability in Medicine?

An estimated 1 million or more patients are harmed in America's hospitals every year. Join doctors and patient safety advocates for a discussion on accountability and spurring improvement.

When Harm in the Hospital Follows You Home

It's estimated that more than a million people per year suffer infections, medical mistakes and other harm in the hospital. But even if patients are lucky enough to physically recover, their lives may never be the same.

A Journalist Explains How To Get Your Story Heard

Several people have expressed frustration that the media hasn't told their story. Here's our tips on how to get your story heard.

Podcast: ProPublica Explores Patient Safety

ProPublica's Marshall Allen, Olga Pierce and Blair Hickman walk us through their ongoing series on patient safety, and how it’s essentially inverted the investigative process by incorporating community and crowdsourcing efforts long before they’ve published a single traditional story.

A Patient’s Guide: How To Stay Safe In a Hospital

Checklists have become more common in the operating room. Now, there’s one for patients and families, too.

When Doctors Feel Pain After a Medical Mistake

Doctors are often referred to as the "second victim" of a medical error. We want to hear about it.

What a New Doctor Learned About Medical Mistakes From Her Mom’s Death

Dr. Elaine Goodman says hospital culture has to embrace the notion that reporting and tracking medical errors are a positive, not punitive, step: “It’s not enough just to have caring, qualified people to keep the patient safe.”

How You Can Help ProPublica Cover Patient Safety

More than 2,000 people — patients, doctors, nurses — have joined our Facebook group to debate causes and solutions to the problem of patients being harmed while receiving care.

How We Used Facebook to Power Our Investigation Into Patient Harm

A typical investigation often takes months before a story is published. We used a slightly different approach.

How We Used Facebook to Power Our Investigation Into Patient Harm

Snooping On the X-ray Tech: A Patient’s Dilemma

Dead On the Operating Table: A Q&A with journalist Mina Kimes

Resource: Three Ways To Tell Your Patient Harm Story

People often tell us they wish a journalist would tell their story. We can’t get to every one – but there are ways to tell your story on your own.

New York’s Ongoing Blackout: Hospitals in Lower Manhattan

There is no firm timetable on the return of some of New York's largest hospitals. And concern is rising that the patchwork system can't last for long.

NYU Hospital’s Backup System Undone by Key Part in Flooded Basement

Hospital official explains how move to rooftop generators failed to prevent failure of backup power during Hurricane Sandy

In Hurricane’s Wake, Decisions Not to Evacuate Hospitals Raise Questions

Lessons learned in previous disasters help avert immediate catastrophe, yet, as a reporter looks on, health officials struggle to deal with glitches and unforeseen dangers.

Why Do Hospital Generators Keep Failing?

The power failure at New York University Langone Medical Center during Hurricane Sandy shows that hospitals still may not be doing enough to prepare for disasters.

What Are Top Patient Safety Challenges Facing Providers?

Medical professionals: we want to know what you think the top patient safety challenges are.

Resource: Five Safe Surgery Tips for Patients

What a Failed Vegas Sex Pill and The Meningitis Outbreak Have In Common

Drugs produced at ‘compounding’ pharmacies — like the steroids suspected of 15 meningitis deaths — are exempt from the safety checks that mass-produced pharmaceuticals receive.

Are High-Volume Dental Chains Exploiting Kids on Medicaid?

As part of our ongoing interest in patient safety, we occasionally interview other journalists who’ve examined health care quality.

Have You Been Harmed in a Medical Facility?

If you or a loved one has suffered patient harm, you can help inform and guide our reporting by filling out our questionnaire.

Why Patients Don’t Report Medical Errors

Patient safety flaws remain hidden if no one finds out about them. Now, a federal health care quality agency is planning a new effort to encourage disclosure of medical mistakes.

Discover The Quality of Nursing Homes Near You

Easily search nursing home inspection reports nationwide, with our updated app.

Providers: Tell Us What You Know About Patient Safety

Share your expertise with reporters Olga Pierce and Marshall Allen.

How You Can Help ProPublica Investigate Health Care Quality

Be part of the patient safety conversation, get regular updates and share stories or views

A Costly Equation: Medical Dollars Wasted Are Greater Than the U.S. Defense Budget

New report analyzes the cost of medical waste in America.

Resource: Dealing With The Media

A patient safety advocate shares lessons she’s learned about journalism with others who have suffered medical harm.

Why Patient Harm Is One of the Leading Causes of Death in America

In his new book, surgeon Marty Makary gives his thoughts on why patient harm persists, and what to do about it. He sat down with us for a Q&A.

Resource: Finding Unexpected Allies

How a mother whose child died from medical error moved beyond her pain to protect other patients.

Author: Health Care Reform Is No Solution to Patient Harm

Patient safety advocate Rosemary Gibson thinks the too-big-to-fail health care industry lacks accountability and a forceful mandate to improve.

To Stent Or Not To Stent, That Is In Question

As Hospital Corporation of America comes under scrutiny, experts say unnecessary heart procedures are common, costing taxpayers, driving insurance premiums and putting patients at risk.

Why Can’t Medicine Seem to Fix Simple Mistakes?

The death of 12-year-old Rory Staunton from septic shock prompted NYU's Langone Medical Center to revamp its emergency room procedures to address a startling lapse. History shows that the profession is unlikely to learn from this mistake.

Cardiac Arrest: Hospital Refuses to Give Widow her Husband’s Heart

After eight years, the hospital that performed Jerry Carswell's autopsy acknowledges it has his heart, but still won't give it to his wife.

Could The Supreme Court’s Health Care Ruling Kill Patient Safety Reforms?

In all the talk about the Supreme Court’s impending health care reform ruling, one question is often overlooked: What might happen to the many patient safety and quality of care provisions sprinkled through the Affordable Care Act?

Chatting With the Reporters Behind Dollars for Docs

Charlie Ornstein and Tracy Weber talk about the money docs get from drug companies, and why it matters.

Join ProPublica’s Patient Harm Community

A space for patients, families, medical providers and other journalists to connect, share their stories and learn.

Share Your Story

Your input can help ProPublica's reporting.

Have you worked in health care? Tell us what you’ve observed about patient safety.

Have you or a loved one been harmed? Tell us about it.

Join the Discussion

Join the over 1,500 members of ProPublica's Patient Harm Group to learn, share your story and connect with others.

Icon graphics courtesy of the Noun Project.

Get Updates

Stay on top of what we’re working on by subscribing to our email digest.

optional

Our Hottest Stories

  •  
  •  
  •  
  •  
  •  
  •  
  •  
  •  
  •  
  •