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Still Not Safe – Patient Safety and the Middle-Managing of American Medicine - Oxford Scholarship Online
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Still Not Safe: Patient Safety and the Middle-Managing of American Medicine

Robert Wears and Kathleen Sutcliffe


Patient safety suddenly burst into public consciousness in the late 1990s and became a “celebrated” cause in the 2000s. It has since gradually faltered, and little improvement has been noted over almost 20 years. Both the rise and fall of patient safety demand explanation. Medical harm had been known long before the 1990s, so why did it suddenly become popular? And why were safety efforts ineffective? The authors propose that this rise was due to a discursive shift that reframed “medical harm” into “medical error” in the setting of anxiety about industrialization and great change in healthcare ... More

Keywords: patient safety, medical error, adverse events, safety science, medicalization

Bibliographic Information

Print publication date: 2019 Print ISBN-13: 9780190271268
Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: November 2019 DOI:10.1093/oso/9780190271268.001.0001


Affiliations are at time of print publication.

Robert Wears, author
University of Florida

Kathleen Sutcliffe, author
Johns Hopkins University