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Patient safety: On the marketing and strategic radar screen

"Woman has unnecessary double mastectomy due to mistake by New York medical laboratory." "Rhode Island hospital does surgery on wrong side of patient's brain-third such incident in one year at the same hospital." "Movie star's twin infants receive 1,000 times the recommended dose of drug due to error by California hospital." These headlines all appeared in the national press during the closing months of 2007. Almost eight years after the Institute of Medicine's landmark study, To Err Is Human, reported on avoidable hospital deaths due to mistakes or errors, and on the heels of the type of headlines listed above, there is high public awareness of medical errors-and justifiably lower tolerance for them.

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