Journal Article

The patient's right to safety—improving the quality of care through litigation against hospitals.

Annas GJ.

This commentary discusses the relationship between litigation, patient safety, and accountability from a perspective that calls for litigation as a driver rather than a hindrance to safety improvement. The author discusses the role of hospital and corporate responsibility in broadening a patient's hospital rights to include that of safety. He uses the example that half of the nation's hospitals endorsed and implemented evidence-based safety interventions coupled with the 100,000 Lives Campaign, suggesting the other half should feel the pressure to do the same or put themselves at risk for potential liability. By placing the responsibility of safety on hospitals, which actually control the systems contributing to error far more than individual providers, the mission to improve patient safety becomes a priority on a level that is pushed by litigation rather than slowed by it.