If you’re ever in an accident or require surgery – the hospital you choose matters more than most realize.
A Boston Consulting Group (BCG) study found that patients treated at the worst American hospitals were three times more likely to die and 13 times more likely to have medical complications than those who visited one of the nation’s best hospitals. The Leapfrog Group, a national nonprofit organization driving a movement for improvements in the quality and safety of American health care, found similar results in their study of this topic.
Three times more likely to die… think about that.
The BCG’s authors looked at 22 million hospital admissions across the U.S. and adjusted for factors like age, sex, the severity of illness, and more.
Unfortunately, no hospitals were explicitly identified in the study. The study authors agreed not to reveal institutional names in order to gain access to the data.
When asked to explain such a wide disparity of results, one of the study’s authors, Dr. Barry Rosenberg, said that much of the difference in outcomes could be explained by the skill of the medical staff and the culture of each hospital.
Can patients determine in advance which hospitals to entrust their care to?
And the authors stress information like that should be made readily available – but is actually increasingly challenging to obtain.
“This paper raises the question of why don’t we have broader outcomes measurement and transparency around performance,” said Dr. Justin B. Dimick, one of the authors and a surgeon and researcher at the University of Michigan.
So, what can you do to protect yourself and your family?
Not much if you are in an accident and taken to whatever hospital is closest. But if you need to have elective surgery – here are a few things you can do:
- Ask your physician many questions – and if possible, get second opinions.
- Understand all you can about the procedure proposed and the skill of the physician doing the procedure.
- Ask how often the physician and the hospital you are considering perform the procedure in question each year.
- Ask lots of questions and use great care when taking any prescribed medications. There are known risks with virtually all prescription and conventional over-the-counter drugs. Risks are often intensified when drugs are mixed together – a practice called poly-pharmacy.
If you or a loved one is ever the victim of a surgical error, a defective drug, the improper prescription of a drug therapy, over-exposure to medical radiation, a hospital acquired infection, a fall while in the hospital, a preventable blood clot, a misdiagnosis, or any form of medical malpractice, call a qualified Connecticut medical malpractice lawyer. A knowledgeable malpractice attorney can help to ensure that your rights are protected.
RisCassi & Davis has handled hundreds of medical malpractice cases over our more than 65 years serving the people of Connecticut. What’s more, our Connecticut medical malpractice lawyers have received local and national recognition for our handling of these cases.