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David Mayer MD: “Walking” To Raise Awareness for Patient Safety

February 9, 2021

If you’re a big baseball fan, you may have dreamed of seeing a ballgame in each of the 30 major league ballparks. Whether you start at Target Field in Minneapolis and end your road trip at Coors Field in the Mile High City, there are plenty of itineraries to accomplish this feat.

However, one die-hard Chicago Cubs fan has been making an attempt at this achievement with a loftier objective: raising awareness for patient and caregiver safety. And he’s doing it by walking to each stadium.

Dave Mayer’s Walk

Mayer is the executive director of the MedStar Health Institute for Quality and Safety and the CEO of the Patient Safety Movement Foundation—a nonprofit dedicated to eliminating preventable medical harm.

The 67-year-old says he was inspired by the movie “Forrest Gump,” in which Tom Hanks’ lead character makes a three-year, cross-country marathon.

Mayer set out on a walk and drive across America to raise awareness for patient and caregiver safety. So far he’s visited 17 major league parks. Plus, he’s been to the Red Sox and Twins spring-training sites in Fort Myers, Fla., as well as Ameritrade Park in Omaha, Neb., the home of the College Baseball World Series. He’s also seen the minor-league parks in Kenosha, Wisconsin, and Aberdeen, Maryland. That’s 32 total venues in his walk of 206 straight days, covering 1,300 miles. Mayer has worn out eight pairs of shoes. He hopes to complete his tour of all 30 MLB (Major League Baseball) parks by the beginning of spring training in 2021.

Medical Errors are the World’s 14th Leading Cause of Death and Third in the U.S.

Hospital medical errors are the third leading cause of death in our country. Only heart disease and cancer take more lives. Globally, experts say that medical errors kill more people than HIV, Malaria, and Tuberculosis combined.

Preventable medical errors result in over 200,000 deaths in hospitals every year in the United States. That means $1.44 trillion in excess healthcare costs. In fact, an adverse drug event is the fourth leading cause of death in the U.S. and costs $136 billion and 100,000 lives. Likewise, blood clots or venous thromboembolism is the most frequently seen preventable cause of hospital death. It costs us $10 billion and takes nearly 100,000 lives.

Healthcare-related infections cost the country more than $30 billion, and this is responsible for 75,000 lives. Roughly one in every 25 patients get at least one infection while spending time in the hospital. That’s a lot of preventable injuries and deaths.

Can These Deaths Can Be Prevented?

Mayer and his Patient Safety Movement Foundation believe that reaching zero preventable deaths in hospitals is not only the right goal but an attainable one with the right people, ideas, and technology.

In his more than 20 years advocating for patient and caregiver safety, giving presentations and lectures at symposiums and conferences across the country, Mayer said he’s rarely been as encouraged by the response to an awareness campaign as he has been in the past few months walking to ballparks. But he says that his work is far from done.

“I don’t know how much time I have left on this planet,” he said, “but I’m going to keep walking until people start noticing this issue.”

So far, 4,793 hospitals in nearly 50 countries have committed to the zero death initiative.


Again, it’s worth repeating that medical errors are the third leading cause of death behind heart disease and cancer. There are one million deaths each year due to post-surgical complications, at least half of these are preventable. A preventable death or injury from a medical mistake means that someone is responsible, and that person or person should be held accountable to the victim and his or her family.

If you or a loved one have suffered an injury or death that you believe was caused by a medical error, you may bring a lawsuit for damages. A plaintiff must show that:

  • The doctor failed to provide a reasonable standard of care;
  • The breach in the standard of care caused injury; and
  • The patient suffered substantial physical injury and/or financial losses from the negligence.

Buchanan Firm can help if you believe that a preventable death or injury from medical malpractice has impacted you and your family.

Contact Us

For a free consultation with an experienced medical malpractice attorney in Michigan, contact Buchanan Firm. We can discuss your situation and look into your case if you believe you’ve been injured as the result of a preventable medical error.

Our firm proudly serves people all across Michigan, including major cities like Grand Rapids, Muskegon, Detroit, Lansing, Holland, St. Joe, and Ann Arbor, and rural towns such as Lowell, Ada, Fremont, Newaygo, Grand Haven, Rockford, and Cedar Springs. We will meet you after-hours, at home or in the hospital to accommodate you.

Contact us today!