Helen Haskell is founder and president of Mothers Against Medical Error, a network of patients and patient safety advocates specializing in education for patients and support for those who have suffered 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 from preventable errors in a South Carolina teaching hospital. In 2005, Helen helped put together a coalition of patients, policymakers, and healthcare providers to pass the Lewis Blackman Patient Safety Act, the first of several South Carolina legislative initiatives addressing healthcare safety and transparency. In 2007, the state of South Carolina created the Lewis Blackman Chair of Patient Safety and Clinical Effectiveness, an endowed professorship named in honor of her deceased son.
Helen is actively involved in statewide patient safety and quality improvement efforts in South Carolina and collaborates on a national and international level with other consumer and professional organizations on patient-oriented quality improvement programs, including infection disclosure and prevention, patient-activated rapid response systems, and disclosure of medical error, among others.