Combatting medical errors
June 27, 2012
While most eyes are on the Supreme Court awaiting the ruling on the Obama administration's Affordable Care Act, we'll take a look at another crisis in health care that isn't getting as much attention — medical errors. Every year, 100,000 people die in hospitals due to preventable medical mistakes and millions more adverse health effects from errors. Overworked staff, lost records and test results, problems workers have wit information technology, and even, ironically, some safety initiatives — these are just some of the reasons mistakes happen and people's lives are put at increased risk. Medical sociologist ROSS KOPPEL and health journalist SUZANNE GORDON look at the problem of medical errors in their new book, First, Do Less Harm: Confronting the Inconvenient Problems of Patient Safety. Ross Koppel is on the faculty of the Sociology Department, the School of Medicine and the Graduate School of Education at the University of Pennsylvania. Suzanne Gordon is a journalist who covers health care and specifically the communication issues that arise between doctors, nurses and patients.