Taking steps to stop preventable medical errors

Officials at Methodist Hospital in St. Louis Park, Minn., said a surgical team made a mistake when they removed the wrong kidney from a cancer patient last week.

The Chief Medical Officer for the hospital's operator, Park Nicollet Health Services, said his company accepts full responsibility for the error.

However, the Chief said the problem appears to have originated weeks ago when the wrong kidney was listed as cancerous on a medical chart.

The case is an extreme example of the kind of preventable medical errors that Minnesota hospitals are trying to root out.

Nancy Jaeckels is Director of Education for the Institute for Clinical Systems Improvement (ICSI). The Bloomington-based organization works with hospitals to research and reduce medical errors.

Jaeckels joined "All Things Considered's" Steven John to discuss preventable medical errors.

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