Helen Haskell is president of Mothers Against Medical Error, a South Carolina-based group dedicated to improving patient safety and providing support for patients who have experienced medical injury. For Helen, patient safety is a calling to which she was brought by the death of her fifteen-year-old son Lewis, who died in the hospital following routine surgery. Following Lewis’s death, Helen helped create a coalition of South Carolina health professionals and consumers to pass the Lewis Blackman Act, aimed at addressing the conditions that led to Lewis’s death. Helen is a World Health Organization Patient Safety Champion and has served on patient safety advisory panels for a number of national organizations. She regularly addresses national groups of health professionals on the consumer perspective in patient safety.
In 2007, the Health Sciences South Carolina consortium named the first Lewis Blackman Professor of Patient Safety and Simulation, an endowed chair funded by the state of South Carolina. In 2008, the South Carolina Hospital Association initiated an annual Lewis Blackman Award for champions of patient safety in South Carolina
Ms. Haskell was closely involved in the passage of the 2006 South Carolina Hospital Infection Disclosure Act. She sits on the Hospital Infection Disclosure Act advisory committee and on the South Carolina Hospital Association Quality Council. Nationally, Helen is involved in a variety of initiatives involving such issues as health education reform, rapid response teams, disclosure of medical error, and informed consent.
Helen holds a BA in Classical Studies from Duke University, an MA in Anthropology from Rice University, and an M Phil in Museum Studies from the University of South Carolina. Her earlier career as an archaeologist included research and fieldwork in the United States, Europe, the Near East, and Africa.