National campaign adds accountability to unintended medical harm

(WPRI) — Starting Monday, a nationwide campaign will call for Congress to investigate problems related to unintended medical harm.

Former Eyewitness News anchor, Pat Mastors, lost her father to an infection after visiting the hospital for treatment of an unrelated issue. Her daughter also contracted a potentially fatal virus.

“I get emails and I hear stories all the time from yet another person who is caring, educated, involved in their loved ones care and things didn’t go well,” said Mastors, of the Patient Voice Institute, an advocacy group created by patients aimed at providing more patient-related healthcare.

She says 440,000 people die every year from unintended medical harm. Now, a letter to Congress, backed by patient advocates, calls for both a Congressional Committee on Patient Safety and a Patient Safety Board, to function much like the National Transportation Safety Board.

“We all have to collectively pull back that curtain and look at the man behind the curtain who is not helping us. There is deep dysfunction that we all have a role in fixing, and that’s what this letter is about.”

Mastors says there was an attempt at a National Patient Safety Board back in 1999, that for a number of reasons didn’t move forward. She hopes this letter starts a new conversation.

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