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Patient Safety

Exploring Quality of Care in the U.S.

More than 1 million patients suffer harm each year while being treated in the U.S. health care system. Even more receive substandard care or costly overtreatment. Our ongoing investigation of patient safety features in-depth reporting, discussion and tools for patients.

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.

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.

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.

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