Forgive and remember
- By: Isobel Weinberg
Anyone who has ever been a member of a committee will know how tedious meetings can be. There’s a feeling of futility: talking and talking about problems, but nothing much ever seems to improve. What if the same were true for an important field of healthcare research? Talking and talking but no change? That is the sad message of a new book, First, Do Less Harm, which examines the patient safety movement and concludes that, for all the discussion, not enough has improved.
Patient safety refers to a healthcare discipline that aims to prevent errors in medicine such as prescribing mistakes, hospital acquired infections, and wrong site surgery. It was brought to the attention of the medical profession by the 1999 publication of a report called To Err Is Human, which advocated discussing mistakes freely and without blame to learn from them. “Forgive and remember,” the catchphrase went. Talking about