Lisa Zenzen Baker, 1961-2003


Monday, August 10, 2009

Out in the open

Medical errors make
it to the front page

Posted August 10, 2009

In an astonishing change of policy, the Times Union and its parent company, the Hearst Corporation have gone from a decade of ignoring medical errors to launching an almost national effort to focus attention on the issue.

Involving reporters and editors from newspapers in seven cities and some of the company’s TV stations, the project, titled “Dead By Mistake,” examines both problems and possible solutions in patient safety.

One thing they might have changed is the project’s title. “Dead By Mistake, Concealed By Design” would have more accurately described the way most medical facilities have handled errors.

Also, the use of the word ‘mistake’ seems inappropriate when applied to overall policies. When you take a course of action knowing that people will be harmed by it, and you know that some of the harm could be avoided if you took a different course, that is a deliberate decision, not a ‘mistake.”

Nevertheless, this project will now bring a lot of attention to a subject that for too long too many vested interests have wanted to keep unchanged and unnoticed. There is still a long way to go but this is a very good first step.

Today an open letter is being prepared to be sent to TU editor Rex Smith. It will be posted here later this week.