Preventable harm, from the systems of care intended to improve health, continues to occur at an unacceptable rate in the United States. Healthcare systems have an opportunity to learn and improve from each episode of preventable harm. Accordingly, every preventable patient death or injury must energise our efforts to prevent future patient harm.
The Anesthesia Patient Safety Foundation (APSF) believes that criminal prosecution of healthcare providers will make the work of preventing harm more difficult since it continues to shift the focus away from system improvements.
They have released a position and policy statement outlining the rationale for opposing criminal prosecution and, equally important, recommends that all healthcare systems and organisations aggressively act, now, to improve their culture, processes, and training to reduce errors of all kinds and, specifically in light of recent events, medication errors. Some specific actions are recommended as examples of what can be done. Individual healthcare professionals should be mindful of their role in preventing errors and reporting errors that occur as well as taking action to encourage and enable their organization to improve the flaws in the systems in which they work that lead to harm to patients.