Hospitals are supposed to help people get well, not get sicker. But avoidable medical mistakes and failure to follow, and enforce, simple common sense sanitary and safety precautions, on medical and other staff, continue to present a real threat to the health and safety of patients.
A recent study indicates that the problem of hospital errors is more severe in New York City than in many other metropolitan areas.
The study was conducted by Healthgrades, an independent company that monitors medical care delivery around the country. Healthgrades analyzed some 40 million Medicare patient records from 2007 to 2009, using 13 patient-safety indicators.
The patient-safety indicators were developed by the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality, with the goal of identifying preventable medical mistakes.
According to Healthgrades' findings, the New York City area ranked only 37th in patient safety out of 68 metropolitan areas studied. New York State as a whole was 38th. New Jersey did not score much better, coming in 49th.
Hospital-acquired infections were one of the particular concerns in the study. The data showed that patients at top-performing hospitals were substantially less likely to develop a bloodstream infection or suffer from post-surgical sepsis than those at hospitals with poorer ratings.
"New York hospitals have a long way to go," commented Karen Scharff of Citizen Action of New York, a health-advocacy group. "With methods as simple as checklists and ensuring proper staffing, hospitals can dramatically reduce medical errors - saving lives and millions of dollars."
If you feel you have been injured by a medical error, or someone in your family has been injured, talk with us to discuss your legal options.