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Lucian Leape on Patient Safety in U.S. Hospitals


  • Peter I. Buerhaus

    1. Peter I. Buerhaus, RN, PhD, FAAN, Iota, Valere Potter Professor of Nursing and Senior Associate Dean for Research, Vanderbilt University School of Nursing, Nashville, TN. The author appreciates the editorial assistance provided by Brenda Cornett. Correspondence to Dr. Buerhaus, Office of Research, 512 Godchaux Hall, Vanderbilt University School of Nursing, 21st Avenue South, Nashville, TN 37240. E-mail:
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Purpose:To describe and discuss the status of patient safety in U.S. hospitals.

Methods:Personal interview. This report is part of a series of discussions with a leading expert on patient safety.

Findings and Conclusions:Some improvements have been made in the past 10 years. But changes have not been adequate. Continuing barriers include the punitive environment in hospitals, physicians' denial of the scope of the problem, lack of national leadership, and lack of systems thinking.