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Justice in Motion

AAJ's New Campaign Focuses on Patient Safety

According to the Institute of Medicine, 98,000 people die every year from preventable medical errors. When tort "reform" became an issue in the health care debate, AAJ initiated the "98,000 Reasons" campaign to educate the public and tell Congress to put patients first. The key message: Tort law changes that limit injured patients' rights won't fix health care.

The campaign launched a new Web site (http://www.98000reasons.org/); ran broadcast, print, and online advertising; and released a series of video tributes to some of the lives cut short by medical negligence. The campaign featured patients who were harmed through no fault of their own and emphasized the need to make patient safely a top priority.

One of these patients was 19-year old Blake Fought, who had been treated in a hospoital for an illness that required a central intravenous (IV) line. He had recovered and was being prepared for discharge.

Unfortunately, the nurse had never been trained to remove the IV and did not follow proper procedures, causing bubbles to enter Blake's blood vessels and travel to his brain and heart. He died in front of the nurses and his parents, who had come to the hospital to take their son home. Blake is just one example of why tort law changes will not fix America's broken health care system.

98000Reasons.org also highlights the role played by trial attorneys - who see firsthand the effects of medical errors on patients and their families - in protection patients and ensuring a strong civil justice system.

For a closer look at the campaign, visit http://www.98000reasons.org/.

Justice In Motion, inside the American Association for Justice; Trial January 2010.

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