Expecting More Medical Errors Due to Health Care Reform, Safety Expert Steve Harden Releases Patient’s Manual on Getting Mistake-Free Care

Memphis, June 2, 2010 — Nationally recognized patient safety expert Steve Harden has released his step-by-step guide to getting safer health care. The book, “Never Go to the Hospital Alone – and other insider safety secrets for getting mistake-free care from your doctor and hospital” is an in-depth, consumer-friendly guide on how to avoid being one of the 100,000 people who will die accidentally this year due to medical error. Using the latest medical research to paint a clear picture of why things can go wrong in medicine, the book explains in easy-to-understand language what every patient must do to stay safe.

Approximately 228 people die in the U.S. every day because of preventable medical errors.  The author believes that changes in health care will result in more errors, “As a result of the recent health care reform bill, as many as 41 million new patients will get care without a corresponding increase in our capacity or expertise. This increase will cause a tremendous amount of stress to our health care system – and mistakes will rise. Unless dramatic changes are made in the way health care is delivered, an informed and empowered patient is critical to preventing errors.”

F. Andrew Gaffney, M.D., a cardiologist and former hospital director of patient safety says, “Patient injury and death are frighteningly common, yet most of us don’t know what to do when we or our loved ones are receiving care. We should be key members of our health care team but often aren’t.” Steve’s safety advice to patients on how to become a key member of the health care team comes from his work with more than 100 U.S. and international health care organizations. A patient safety expert, he coaches doctor’s offices and hospitals on how to prevent medical errors through teamwork, checklists, and standard operating procedures. 

The book provides detailed information on the common medical mistakes he has seen in health care and what patients and their families can do to avoid those errors.  Readers learn how to find the safest doctors and hospitals for their care, how to avoid medication errors, prevent infections, and stay safe during a hospital visit. There is even a section on what to do if a patient becomes a victim of a preventable mistake.

Steve continues, “When people hear about tragedies like Dennis Quaid’s twins almost dying from a medication error, they realize they need to do more to protect themselves and their loved-ones, but they don’t know where to begin. With the book I really wanted to make it simple and painless for the average patient, or mom with a sick child, to get the information they need to feel more in control of the safety of their health care.”

The author also provides free checklists and worksheets people can use to methodically assess, interview, and select their providers and hospitals.

About Steve Harden
Steve Harden has written numerous articles on patient safety appearing in Patient Safety and Quality Health Care and other publications. He is also the co-author of the book “CRM: The Flight Plan for Lasting Change in Patient Safety,” published by HCPro. Results of his health care safety work have been covered by over 35 publications and media outlets including the New York Times, Health Leaders, Fast Company, PBS NewsHour, and Entrepreneur magazine.

He is the president LifeWings – a team of physicians, nurses, pilots, and safety system specialists who teach health care organizations how to eliminate medical mistakes and errors. He has worked with 100 health care facilities in the U.S. and around the world, training more than 25,000 doctors, nurses, and medical staff in how to provide safer patient care.

Prior to his work with health care, Steve designed and implemented award-winning safety systems for the airline industry, military flight squadrons, and heavy construction companies. A captain for an international airline, he is a former U.S. Navy TOPGUN instructor pilot and a graduate of the U.S. Naval Academy.