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NY woman, university fight against medical errors

The Wall Street Journal, August 23, 2011

By the time they graduate, every doctor coming out of the University at Buffalo will have gotten a lesson from Mary Brennan-Taylor. It will come from the instructor's experience of losing her mother to medical errors. As an adjunct research instructor of family medicine, Brennan-Taylor will try to open medical students' eyes to the human cost of medical errors by telling them about the death of her 88-year-old mother, who was hospitalized for a non-life-threatening leg ailment in 2009 and died six weeks later from hospital-acquired infections and the use of numerous medications. "Every doctor that graduates from UB will hear Mary's story," said David Holmes, associate vice chair of medical student education at the university's Department of Family Medicine. "Her story adds a very human dimension to our discussion about medical errors. It helps the students realize that it's not just statistics that we are talking about. It's somebody's mom."