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Is Your Hospital Safe?

Posted on: May 10th, 2016 by Romanucci & Blandin

A new national Hospital Safety Score report was recently published by the nonprofit Leapfrog Group in Crain’s Chicago Business, evaluating patient safety and quality in American acute care hospitals. The results are astounding. Of the 22 Chicago hospitals evaluated, six received A’s, two received B’s and the remaining 14 got a C or below. Among those that received a C grade is one of Chicago’s most high-profile hospitals, Northwestern Memorial (NMH).

The report gives grades of A through F, gauging hospitals’ track records of preventing avoidable deaths due to causes such as infections and miscommunication over medications. According to Leapfrog data, nearly 440,000 people in the U.S. die every year due to errors, injuries, accidents and infections during their hospital stay. Furthermore, a report released this week by researchers at John Hopkins University estimates that medical errors are now the third leading cause of death in the U.S.  – directly behind heart disease and cancer. How is this possible? When we looked at the data we were astounded to find that your risk of death at a hospital increases tremendously as the grade is lowered. For example, a patient’s risk of death is 49.8% greater at a D or F evaluated hospital compared to an A.

To know that well-respected, local institutions such as NMH are grading out poorly when it comes to patient safety and miscommunication is incomprehensible. As a firm that handles many high-profile medical malpractice cases, we find this deeply concerning and hope this report will force our healthcare facilities to take a harder look at their internal issues and make the safety of their patients a number one priority.

Please visit hospitalsafetyscore.org to see how your local hospital performed in the Spring 2016 Hospital Safety Score.

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