CT Center for Patient Safety Newsletter
April 3, 2011

 Each week during this legislative session, we have seen efforts to escape liability.  The cardiologists have said they will not join SustiNet unless they are given safe harbor; emergency room docs are seeking legislation that would exempt them of liability.  We have just sent a letter to all legislators and I thought I would share it with you.  

 Re:  A patient perspective on liability PROTECTION.


What do I want for you as a health care consumer?  Perhaps the best way to answer that question is by telling you what I do not want.


I do not want you to go into the hospital and get an infection you did not have when you went in. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) estimates that 100,000people die each year from preventable health care - acquired infections (HAIs). A Pennsylvania study indicates a 9.4% mortality rate for patients with health care - acquired infections, compared to 1.89% mortality rate for patients without infection. This same study finds the average hospital stay for a patient with an infection is 21.9 days, compared to 4.9 dayswithout infection. Decreasing the rate of HAIs in our state's hospitals will not only reduce the number of patient injuries suffered by our citizens, it will alsoreduce our state's healthcare costs.


I do not want you to suffer preventable harm while hospitalized. According to the Office of the Inspector General's (OIG) 2010 report,  one out of seven patients suffers preventable harm while hospitalized. A 2011 report by HealthGrades finds 500,000 preventable hospital deaths in the last ten years.


I do not want you to unknowingly seek medical care from a repeat offender - a doctor WHO REPEATEDLY injures patients, yet is not disciplined and continues to (MAL)practice. State medical boards collectively failed to discipline 55% of the nation's doctors who had their clinical privileges revoked or restricted by the hospitals where they worked. Our state's Medical Examining Board ranks 47th in the nation in taking action against doctors who injure their patients.


I do not want you to experience a medication error. The Institute of Medicine (IOM) reports that there is one medication error per patient per hospital day.


I do not want you to receive medical care that is influenced by conflicts of interest. ProPublica has initiated Dollars for Docs, a  campaign for consumer transparency to disclose financial ties between doctors and the pharmaceutical industry they too often seem to serve.

 What I do want for you, when inevitably you or your loved one becomes a patient, is access to justice should you suffer a preventable medical injury caused by negligence.


What I do want for you are doctors who are concerned MORE  about patient safety and less about litigation.


If the goal of healthcare is to protect and improve the health of our citizens, then legislation must be guided by a patient-centric moral compass. Patient injuries are, after all, non-partisan. Considering the number of adverse events that occur, I would expect far more litigation arising from these health care errors.


Please put patients first.


Dear Members,

The Board of Directors has spent the past five months revisiting how our organization operates.  Six years ago, we were just  an idea.  Today we are a voice.  Driving us is our mission  -  and we simplified the wording:


The Connecticut Center for Patient Safety works to promote patient safety, improve the quality of health care and protect the rights of patients.


In the next few months we will be announcing a new website that promises to be more dynamic and accessible.  We are defining our educational outreach.

We are building on our strengths and addressing the weaknesses. We have accomplished a lot but there is so much more to do.  Statistics and data continue to show a highly dysfunctional health care "system" that is not always putting patients first.


My challenge to you is to help me understand why the general public does not get the concept of patient safety AND REACT WITH A SENSE OF URGENCY.  How else could we word it?  When you are speaking to friends and family - what idea about patient safety do they seem to get?



Thanks to all of you who helped us pass our Hospital Acquired Infection Legislation in 2006.  This is just the beginning.  Wind is in our sails.  AND NOW THE PUBLIC HAS A WAY TO CHECK ON HOSPITALS' PERFORMANCE ON INFECTION CONTROL - A DPH REPORT JUST OUT.


Please visit the Department of Public Health website and view the report.


- The Connecticut Department of Public Health (DPH) today released a report on a class of

infections acquired in Connecticut acute care hospitals. The report will guide future hospital and state prevention activities, and assess progress in preventing healthcare-associated infections.

"This report is the first of its kind in Connecticut, allowing consumers to view infection data reported by Connecticut hospitals," stated DPH Commissioner Dr. Jewel Mullen. "Hospitals can also use it to assess their infection control programs and track their progress in reducing health care associated infections against national data."

The report presents data on a preventable, but serious and potentially fatal, type of healthcare-associated infection called central line-associated bloodstream infections (OR CLABSIs) . Connecticut's 30 acute care hospitals are required to report these infections to DPH using standard definitions and protocols. The report compares hospital data collected from October 1, 2009 through September 20, 2010 to the latest available national

benchmark data collected between 2006-2008.


Mary Ellen Ladd is an amazing advocate - always willing to speak up, testify and work toward safer and saner health care.  Mary Ellen has a very special child, Peter.  If you visit our blog, www.patientsafetyct.org you can see a video of Mary Ellen talking about Peter's election to class president.  Mary Ellen is participating in Cerebral Palsy Awareness Month - and I wanted to share with you what she wrote to her friends.


Dear Family and Friends,


March is Cerebral Palsy Awareness Month and I am on a mission to tell everyone I can about Cerebral Palsy.  As many of you know, my 9 year old son Peter has CP as a result of brain damage caused by lack of oxygen during his birth.  It has become increasingly evident to me that many people do not understand what CP is and that CP does not get the media attention or funding for research that other disorders and diseases receive, despite the incredible challenges and expenses of raising a child with CP. 


I want to raise awareness and to ask for your help in advocating for more funding for the prevention and cure of CP.  If you are able to pass the emails on to your own family and friends, that would be greatly appreciated.  If you are able to contact your congressional leaders about the need for more funding for research for CP, that would also be appreciated.

 I thank you for reading this and hope that you will help me on my mission to raise awareness about CP.


Mary Ellen Ladd 

For more information or for the Cerebral Palsy Awareness Month emails, let Jean know and she will contact me. 


It is always a good time to thank so many of you who have sent generous gifts and called and given time and advice.  Visit -

our blog



and our website



and our phone number

203 247 5757 

A video link -Patient Safety

 I thought you would be interested in this video link to

  activists from all over the country who are working on

 issues - just like us. 


Feel the growing patient safety movement.  Be proud that

 your voice is added to so many others