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Study Evaluates U.S. Hospitals' Death Rates

A study released Oct. 14 revealed that of 5,000 U.S. hospitals examined over a three-year period, the top-ranked (five-star) facilities had a death rate 70 percent lower than the lower-ranked hospitals. Medical officials are urging people to do their research before choosing a hospital, in an effort to avoid hospital injuries brought on by doctor mistakes or negligence. 

Overall Decline in Death Rates

The Eleventh Annual Health Grades Hospital Quality in America Study examined approximately 41,000,000 Medicare patient records from 2005 to 2007. The results showed that overall, the death rates declined by 14.7 percent in the U.S. The study examined 17 different procedures and conditions: 

  • heart failure
  • heart attack
  • coronary bypass surgery
  • resection or replacement of the abdominal aorta
  • coronary interventional procedures (angioplasty/stent)
  • valve replacement surgery
  • stroke
  • pulmonary embolism
  • chronic obstructive pulmonary disease
  • respiratory failure
  • sepsis
  • bowel obstruction
  • gastrointestinal surgeries and procedures
  • gastrointestinal bleeding
  • pneumonia
  • pancreatitis
  • diabetic acidosis/coma 

The study analysis showed that: 

  • More than half of the Medicare-patient deaths were associated with four conditions — sepsis, pneumonia, heart failure and respiratory failure. 
  • If all of the hospitals studied had performed at the five-star level, more than 237,000 deaths could have been prevented. 
  • The geographic region with the lowest overall risk-adjusted death rate was the East North Central region.  
  • Nine regions were studied, as were individual states and major metropolitan areas. 
  • The same East North Central region also had the highest percentage of best-performing hospitals (26 percent). 
  • The largest variations in death rates were among the patients with heart failure and those undergoing surgery for a stroke or a cardiac or pulmonary condition. 

Geography Should Not Be a Factor in Patient Outcomes

The state and regional differences in the quality of hospital care were especially disconcerting to the study's authors, who cautioned that patients should take the time to check out hospital ratings before they undergo elective surgery. 

(Source: Washington Post) 

More Information:

If you have concerns about the medical care that you or your family member received at a hospital, contact us today to speak to an experienced medical malpractice attorney in your area for legal counsel. Our medical malpractice attorneys have the experience and knowledge to help guide you through your legal claim. If you or someone you love has suffered injuries due to the negligence of a medical professional, you are eligible to seek financial compensation for both your physical and psychological losses. Contact us today to see how we can help you. 

Our attorneys have years of experience in successfully representing individuals who have been injured or who have lost a loved one due to medical negligence. We will carefully evaluate your case and ensure that your legal rights are protected.


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