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Is your hospital a safe place for care?

As previous posts have mentioned, Connecticut legislators have recently proposed some serious reforms. If they carry through, the medical malpractice laws in the state could be amended in ways which would make it easier for an injured party to bring a medical malpractice claim.

In a stroke of good timing for proponents of the changes, Consumer Reports recently conducted a safety investigation in U.S. Hospitals. Its criteria included infections, communication about safety issues, how often a patient returns to a hospital just after discharge, too many image tests, common complications, and death rates. A hospital near New Haven residents, Massachusetts General, came in the middle of the pack.

Scores ranged from 0 to 100. Sacred Heart Hospital of Chicago came in dead last with just 16 points. The highest ranking hospital was Billings Clinic in Montana. But even that facility was not even close to a perfect score, totaling only 72 points. Massachusetts General of Boston received a safety score of 45.

According to Consumer Reports, infections, surgical mistakes and other medical harm contribute to the deaths of 180,000 patients a year. On top of this, approximately 1.4 million people are injured by hospital care.

Experts indicate that safety must be a hospital's top priority in order to reduce these injury numbers. This includes instituting checklists to reduce infections and reduce risk of surgical error.

If an individual is injured from the negligent care of medical provider, Connecticut law permits for civil remedies. In order to get to trial, an injured party must make a statement on good faith belief that there was negligence during his or her care.

Hospital safety and negligent care is clearly a serious concern for all states in the U.S. which is why medical malpractice laws that protect the injured patient are crucial to deter future harm and to bring justice to injured parties.

Source: CBS News, "Consumer Reports ranks most dangerous, safest hospitals," July 7, 2012

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