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  October 27, 2003

Symposium To Tackle Topic Of Medical Errors

Medical mistakes cause thousands of patient deaths in the United States each year, according to the Institute of Medicine. This and other challenges related to medical errors will be addressed by experts in the field of public health and management during the first Roger Beck Symposium at the Health Center on November 25.

The symposium, "Medical Errors, Adverse Events: Malpractice, Maloccurrence, Malfeasance in Medicine. Who's Responsible or Who Should Be and What Can Be Done?" is the first in an annual series co-sponsored by the State Medical Society and the Health Center to honor surgeon and educator Roger Beck.

Beck was an associate clinical professor of surgery at the UConn School of Medicine. He also was a senior attending surgeon, chairman of the Medical Staff Council, and president of the Medical Staff at Hartford Hospital; served on the staff of Rocky Hill Veterans Home and Hospital and John Dempsey Hospital; and was an adjunct clinical professor of surgery at Dartmouth Medical School.

In addition to his surgical practice, Beck is active in several medical organizations. He served on the Hartford County Medical Association board and is a past president of the Connecticut State Medical Society.

Speakers and presentations during the symposium include:

Dr. John Rowe, chairman and chief executive officer at Aetna Inc. and chair of the UConn Board of Trustees, who will talk about possible solutions from a variety of viewpoints in his presentation "Solutions;"

Dr. Lucian Leape, adjunct professor of health policy in the Department of Health Policy and Management at Harvard School of Public Health, who will address the scope and causes of medical errors in his talk, titled: "Medical Errors: The Substrate of Malpractice";

Dr. Barry Manuel, associate dean and professor of surgery at Boston University School of Medicine, who will discuss fundamental flaws in the present system of dealing with medical injury; alternative methods of compensation for medical injury; and methods of implementing change, in a talk titled "The Crisis in Professional Liability: There is a Solution";

Dr. Troyen Brennan, professor of medicine at Harvard Medical School, president of the Brigham and Women's Physicians Organization, and professor of law and public health at Harvard School of Public Health, who will review the conceptual and empirical relationships between patient safety and malpractice litigation and potential reforms in his talk, "Politics of Malpractice Reform."

The event begins at 4 p.m. in Keller Auditorium, with introductions and welcoming comments by Dr. Peter J. Deckers, executive vice president for health affairs, and Timothy Norbeck, executive director of the Connecticut State Medical Society, who is currently serving on an American Medical Association task force examining new ways for organized medicine to improve its work processes. The program ends at 7:30 p.m.

Moderators of the symposium will be Deckers and Dr. Sultan Ahamed, president and chief executive officer of the Connecticut Medical Insurance Co. and a member of the Connecticut State Medical Society American Medical Association delegation. "I think we are in for a very interesting debate and discussion," says Deckers.

To attend the free symposium, please make a reservation by calling 800.535.6232.