New AAJ Ad Campaign Tells Congress: “Put Patients First”

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For Immediate Release: September 22, 2009

Contact: Ray De Lorenzi
202-965-3500, ext. 369
media.replies@justice.org

New AAJ Ad Campaign Tells Congress: “Put Patients First”

Calls On Congress to Improve Health Care by Reducing 98,000 Annual Deaths from Preventable Medical Errors - Like Two 737s Crashing Every Day for an Entire Year

Washington, DC—The American Association for Justice (AAJ) today launched the first phase of a nationwide ad campaign to educate lawmakers about the epidemic of preventable medical errors and how tort law changes won’t lower costs or cover the uninsured.  The ads are running in opinion-leading Washington publications and influential online news sites.

According to the Institute of Medicine, 98,000 people are killed annually by preventable medical errors.  “That’s like two 737s crashing every day for a whole year,” says the ad, which will initially run in Beltway publications and web sites nationwide.  The ad concludes by posing the rhetorical question, “Would we blame the passengers or the airlines?”

“Our health care system is clearly broken, and if we are serious about improving it, we need to fix preventable medical errors,” said AAJ President Anthony Tarricone.  “This new ad campaign gives Congress 98,000 reasons why they should put patients’ health first – before the profits of insurance companies.  If we work to improve our health care system and reduce medical errors – rather than strip people of their rights – there would be far fewer victims that need legal recourse.”

The ads are an extension of AAJ’s efforts to improve the nation’s health care system by addressing preventable medical errors instead of trying to take away long-established Constitutional rights.

The Government Accountability Office and Congressional Budget Office have both said taking away patients’ rights will not significantly lower health care costs and found no evidence of so-called “defensive medicine.”  Nonetheless, the insurance industry, political opponents of reform and others members of the health care industrial complex have continued to use patients’ rights as bargaining chips during this debate.
 
“Americans deserve health care reform that will actually fix our broken system, not force them to give up their legal rights,” said Tarricone.  “Let’s focus on preventing errors in the first place, not targeting those injured through no fault of their own.”

To learn more about AAJ’s ad campaign and the role of medical negligence in the health care debate, visit http://www.98000reasons.org/.

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As the world's largest trial bar, the American Association for Justice (formerly known as the Association of Trial Lawyers of America) works to make sure people have a fair chance to receive justice through the legal system when they are injured by the negligence or misconduct of others—even when it means taking on the most powerful corporations. Visit http://www.justice.org/newsroom.

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