Medical Errors Persist 20 Years After Death Of Boston Globe Reporter

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Twenty years ago, The Boston Globe health reporter, Betsy Lehman, was battling breast cancer, when doctors at the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute made a mistake with her treatment. They gave her four times the intended dose of a powerful chemotherapy drug over a four-day period. Betsy was close to being discharged, but she suddenly died. She was just 39 years old.

Since then, many hospitals and physicians have made improvements to prevent medical errors, but they remain persistent. According to a new study released Tuesday, one in four adults report that they or someone close to them experienced a mistake in their medical care in the last five years. The study was commissioned by the Betsy Lehman Center for Patient Safety and Medical Error Reduction, a state agency named for the late reporter.


Richard Knox, contributor to WBUR's Commonhealth blog and former reporter for NPR and The Boston Globe. He covered the story of Betsy Lehman's death 20 years ago. He tweets @dickknox.


Commonhealth: After High-Profile Death, Medical Errors Still Harm Hundreds Of Thousands

  • "It’s strong evidence, experts in patient safety say, that the national movement to prevent medical errors has fallen far short of its goals."

This article was originally published on December 02, 2014.

This segment aired on December 2, 2014.


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