News & Events

Patient Advocate & Parent of a Child Who Died Due to a Medical Error Joins Campaign for New Law to Set Safe Limits on Patients Assigned to RNs

MNA Previews New Radio Ad in Support of H. 2663

Listen to hear the ad.

John McCormack, a prominent patient safety advocate and author of Taylor’s Law, which made health care providers more accountable, announced today that he is campaigning for passage of H. 2663, pending legislation to improve hospital safety by limiting the number of patients assigned to registered nurses. McCormack, whose 13-month old daughter Taylor died tragically due to a preventable medical error in a Massachusetts hospital, has devoted his life since her death to fighting to keep patients safe in hospitals.

At a State House press conference McCormack characterized his support for the safe RN staffing bill as a continuation of his “promise to Taylor that I’d make hospitals safer for all children…I am continuing the fight for patient safety by supporting the Nurses’ Bill, a new law that would set safe limits on the number of patients the hospital industry can assign to a nurse at any one moment. Today, there is no limit to the number of patients a nurse can be forced to care for.”

McCormack added, “Children are safer in daycare—where they are protected by strict limits on the number of children a daycare provider can care for—than they are in Massachusetts hospitals. This is shocking. And it is unacceptable to every parent in the Commonwealth.”

McCormack’s announcement follows the release last week of an alarming study by HealthGrades, a leading health care research firm, that found that more than 82,000 patients a year die in our nation’s hospitals as a result of preventable medical errors and that the leading causes of those deaths can be linked to issues impacted by poor RN staffing in hospitals.

Julie Pinkham, executive director of the MNA, who joined McCormack at the press conference, stated, “Taylor’s death was not a result of unsafe staffing in hospitals. Unsafe staffing does, however, account for tragic deaths like hers, which could be prevented by stricter patient safety measures. Taylor’s death was part of the broad systemic problem and that’s why John has made it his life’s work to improve patient care and to correct dangerous practices, whatever they may be. John’s statement of support and his radio ad make clear just what is at stake in this debate – nothing less than the lives of our patients. And no step is more important in protecting patient safety than establishing safe patient limits.”

McCormack has joined the Coalition to Protect Massachusetts Patients, an alliance of more than 100 leading health care and consumer advocacy groups that are seeking passage of H. 2663. The bill sets minimum standards for RN-to-patient ratios that would be adjusted to reflect the types of hospitals units and the severity of patient conditions. It would also ban the use of mandatory overtime for nurses, prohibit requirements for nurses to practice in areas of the hospital for which they are not appropriately prepared and prohibits the replacement of registered nurses with lesser qualified, unlicensed personnel—all of which are common practices in the hospital industry that contribute to the deterioration in patient care identified in recent years.

John McCormack drew national attention to the issue of health care accountability when he led the fight to pass Taylor’s Law, a Massachusetts law that gives family members of victims of medical error the right to appear at medical board disciplinary hearings. His daughter Taylor died from complications during her hospital stay at Children’s Hospital after her surgery was delayed. “An investigation after Taylor died determined that she died because of faulty hospital policies and procedures. Her death was completely preventable,” McCormack explained. 

As part of the event, the MNA previewed a new radio ad recorded by McCormack that will begin airing on WBZ-AM in Boston and WHYN in Springfield on April 12.

John McCormack Radio Ad in Support of Nurses’ Bill To Set Safe Patient Limits


John McCormack: My name is John McCormack. I’m a Gulf War veteran and a husband, but most of all I’m a father. In 2000, I lost my baby daughter, Taylor. She died in the hospital because the hospital failed to keep our little girl safe. When I carried Taylor in my arms to the hospital morgue, I promised her that I would devote my life to fighting for changes—like Taylor’s Law—which made health care providers more accountable. Now, you can help me continue the fight to make hospitals safer by supporting the Nurses’ Bill, a new law that would set safe limits on the number of patients assigned to a nurse. Just call 617.722.2000 and ask your legislator to vote for safe patient limits. Make safe staffing in hospitals a law. I made a promise to Taylor that I’d make hospitals safer for all children. Please help me keep that promise.

ANNCR: Sponsored by the Massachusetts Nurses Association