Our motivation: Patients like Betsy Lehman
Nearly 25 years ago, Betsy Lehman, a reporter and mother of two young girls, was battling breast cancer. While in the hospital, her care team made a series of fatal mistakes, giving her four times the intended dose of a powerful chemotherapy drug. Her death at age 39 catalyzed a national movement to improve patient safety.
While progress has been made, surveys show that between 20-25 percent of Massachusetts residents have experienced a medical error. In honor of Betsy and every patient, we are raising awareness and advancing strategies to improve the safety of health care in the Commonwealth and beyond.
Betsy Lehman, a 39-year-old journalist and mother of two who had been undergoing breast cancer treatment, dies from a massive chemotherapy overdose at a leading Boston hospital. It was several months before the hospital realized that her death was the result of an error.Learn More
The Institute of Medicine releases its blockbuster report To Err is Human, which estimates that medical error causes as many as 98,000 preventable deaths each year in U.S. hospitals alone. The report highlights Betsy’s story.
The Massachusetts legislature first establishes the Betsy Lehman Center to address the need for better coordination of efforts by health care providers and other state agencies to reduce medical error and keep patients safe. The Center is reestablished in 2012 under the cost, quality, and transparency provisions of health reform legislation known as Chapter 224, and relaunched as an affiliate of the state’s Center for Health Information and Analysis.
The Center is now a non-regulatory Massachusetts state agency with a legislative mandate to conduct research and analysis, convene experts and stakeholders, and disseminate practical information to support providers, patients, and policymakers working together to advance the safety and quality of health care.