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Medical Errors in Orthopaedics: Practical Pointers for Prevention* An AOA Critical Issue
David Wong, MD, MSc, FRCS(C); James Herndon, MD; Terry Canale, MD
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David Wong, MD, MSc, FRCS(C)
Denver Orthopaedic Clinic, 1601 East 19th Avenue, Suite 5000, Denver, CO 80218

James Herndon, MD
Department of Orthopaedic Surgery, Partners HealthCare System, 55 Fruit Street-GRB-624, Boston, MA 02114

Terry Canale, MD
1400 South Germantown Road, Germantown, TN 38138-2205

The authors did not receive grants or outside funding in support of their research or preparation of this manuscript. They did not receive payments or other benefits or a commitment or agreement to provide such benefits from a commercial entity. No commercial entity paid or directed, or agreed to pay or direct, any benefits to any research fund, foundation, educational institution, or other charitable or nonprofit organization with which the authors are affiliated or associated.

*This symposium was presented at the Combined Meeting of the Canadian Orthopaedic Association and the American Orthopaedic Association in Victoria, Canada, on June 4, 2002.

J Bone Joint Surg Am, 2002 Nov 01;84(11):2097-2100
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Extract

The 1999 Institute of Medicine (IOM) report "To Err is Human" 1 focused the attention of the public and the media on adverse events occurring during the treatment of patients. Eye-catching newspaper headlines suggested that "at least 44,000" and possibly "as high as 98,000" patients died yearly in the United States as a consequence of "medical errors" 1 . However, even prior to publication of the IOM report, a number of professional medical associations, including the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons (AAOS) and the Canadian Orthopaedic Association (COA), had recognized the importance of medical errors and had initiated programs to help physicians to foster a culture of patient safety. The IOM report did serve to heighten awareness of patient-safety issues in the minds of both patients and orthopaedic surgeons. Heretofore, prevention of medical errors had been considered a "worthy, but cheerless" matter deserving only limited time and resources in an era of ever-contracting medical finances. In the "To Err is Human" report, the IOM challenged professional medical organizations to make patient safety a priority item in their agendas, implored medical schools to include patient safety as part of their curricula, and urged regulatory agencies to monitor patient-safety data. In addition, patients were encouraged to be proactive in their own care and to be conscious of safety issues.
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