Consumers Union Hosts Patient Safety Forum in Washington

On November 17, 2009 in Washington, D.C., Consumers Union hosted a forum of patient activists, advocates, doctors, nurses and others who want to reform the dangerous safety practices in the U.S. medical industry. (I attended as a medical malpractice attorney and patient safety advocate.)

You can watch a webcast of the forum here.

The forum included a moving panel of three women — Helen Haskell, Patty Skolnik and Lori Nerbonne — who recounted their experiences losing loved ones and what they have done since to try to achieve more openness, honesty and safety in American medicine.

Several journalists gave their perspectives, including

* Maggie Mahar, the author of Money-Driven Medicine and the Health Beat blog,

* Charles Ornstein of Pro Publica, who headed a team of investigative writers who exposed dangerous complacency in the California Board of Nursing, which allowed known dangerous nurses to continue to practice for years.

* Cathleen Crowley, chief writer for the Hearst newspaper project, “Dead by Mistake.

I attended the forum and was both inspired at the obvious dedication of the patient safety advocates in the room, yet frustrated with the lack of traction the safety movement is having in the health care reform in Congress.

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