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CT Center for Patient Safety Newsletter
 September 2012
In This Issue
Change is coming
NEJM on ethical guidelines
Article Headline
Change is coming
As study after study confirms the extent of preventable error, hospitals are turning to expertise from the nuclear and aviation industries.  This is  good news for the patient and his or her family.


Across the country, in our 6,000 hospitals, each day the equivalent of a jumbo jet of patients die from preventable error.  That we have tolerated this for so long is, indeed, intolerable.  The healthcare industries should have been providing leadership, but they have not. 


Engaging expertise from other industries, using checklists to minimize errors, engaging patients and their families are known solutions.  We must change the culture of the institutions:  teamwork and humility would be healthier for us all.


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Dear Members,

Last year we were asked to recommend individuals to sit on state oversight commissions.  Our voice was heard.  Carrie Simon will join the Nursing Examining Board and Queenie Collins will serve on the Medical Examining Board.  Both individuals are highly qualified and will effectively represent the consumer/patient voice.  Congratulations!  While board members work hard and deal with complex ethical decisions, the purpose of these boards is to protect the public.  I am certain both Carrie and Queenie will keep that foremost in their decision making process.

In addition, I have been asked to serve as a consumer rep on an FDA committee.  An orientation will be held next week and that is followed by monthly meetings.  This should be a very interesting and challenging experience.  All of us struggle with how we can be heard at a table of "experts" and this is a step in the right direction.


New England Journal of Medicine:


Critics have long argued that U.S. ethics guidelines protect researchers more than they protect research subjects. The U.S. system of oversight, writes Laura Stark, was developed as a "technique for promoting research and preventing lawsuits." Consider, for example, the obligations of U.S. research sponsors when a study goes wrong. If a research subject is seriously injured, neither the researcher nor the sponsor has any legal obligation to pay for that subject's medical care. In fact, only 16% of academic medical centers in the United States make it a policy to pay for the care of injured subjects. If a subject is permanently disabled and unable to work, sponsors have no obligation to pay compensation for his or her lost income. If a subject dies, sponsors have no financial obligations to his or her family. Not a single academic medical center in the United States makes it a policy to compensate injured subjects or their families for lost wages or suffering. These policies do not change even if a subject is injured in a study that is scientifically worthless, deceptive, or exploitative.

NEVER:  Northeast Voices for Error Reduction.


Thanks to initial funding from Consumers Union, a regional patient voice has been launched.  Exciting indeed.



We are not alone in our efforts to move the behemouth healthcare system to a focus on us, and not only on profits.


An initial team effort will be participation in Maine's 2012 Patient Safety Academy in Portland on September 7th. We look forward to continued collaboration with our growing numbers of informed, determined and very able consumer/patients who represent the voice of the public.


Each industry - and there are literally hundreds - have trade associations representing their needs.  Patients need their own trade association and we plan to provide that voice.


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