CW to Congress: Don’t sacrifice malpractice victims to health reform politics

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Consumer Watchdog joined six other national consumer and patient safety groups to pubish an open letter ad to Congress today opposing any effort to sacrifice innocent Americans injured by cost-cutting hospitals and negligent doctors in the quest for health care reform.

The ad ran in Politico, The Hill and Roll Call today. Download it here.


State malpractice damage caps and other limits on liability for negligent health care providers have locked injured patients out of court, degraded the quality of health care and denied justice to too many families.

Up to 98,000 people die every year from medical errors in U.S. hospitals. If we really want to save money in the health care system, how about preventing medical errors before they happen?

As a new report from Public Citizen finds, 10 simple patient safety reforms would save an estimated $35 billion a year. Not to mention 85,000 lives. They’re not radical ideas. Surgery checklists, drug bar-coding and – wait for it – hand-washing are obvious patient safety measures that most people probably think are already the law of the land. Sadly, they are not required or followed in most hospitals.

The cost of injury and death from medical malpractice cannot be denied: medical mistakes mean someone has to fix them – to the tune of $29 billion a year just for those 98,000 hospital deaths (according to the Institute of Medicine study ‘To Err is Human’). Congress should be going after health care savings that are real, not promises that never materialize.

Consumer Watchdog
Consumer Watchdog
Providing an effective voice for American consumers in an era when special interests dominate public discourse, government and politics. Non-partisan.

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