Hospital Safety Varies Significantly in Illinois and across the Country

According to a newly published report, patient safety varies significantly among hospitals across the country. Significant variations also occur within states, with Illinois being no exception. The company that conducted the study also stated that over 400,000 people die each year due to preventable hospital errors in the United States.

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The company collected data related to 28 safety measures to determine how effective hospitals are at ensuring the safety of their patients. Hospitals were scored and graded based on how well they guarded against unnecessary medical errors, accidents, injuries, and infections. In the report, hospitals could receive a grade of anywhere from “A” to “F.”

Using individual hospital ratings, the company was also able to determine which states provide the safest hospital care. By comparing the number of highly rated hospitals in a state with the total number of hospitals in that state, the company was able to compare hospital safety on a state by state basis. Overall, Illinois hospitals ranked sixth nationally in patient safety.

Despite its high national ranking, of the 117 hospitals in Illinois graded as part of the study, less than half received overall A grades. No hospitals in Illinois flunked overall, but seven received a grade of D, which is the lowest score of any hospital in the state.

Hospitals Must Always Provide Reasonable Care, No Matter Their Ratings

In an ideal world, all hospitals would provide the same level of care. If all hospitals were created equal, it would not matter which emergency room a person is rushed to or which hospital’s Intensive Care Unit a patient recovers in — the outcome would likely be the same.

Unfortunately, however, all hospitals are not created equal. This means that if a patient gets sick, where he or she goes for treatment may influence whether a medical error is committed, an accident occurs, or an infection arises. It is no wonder so many ambulance drivers receive strict instructions to drive to a specific hospital, even if it is farther away than a local hospital or somewhat out of the way.

Most people in Illinois have an idea as to which hospitals are believed to provide the best care in their area. Even if they have not read the new hospital ratings, they have an idea as to where they would like to be treated if an emergency arises or surgery is needed. But even if a person has read the rankings, health care is not a “buyer beware” commodity. Hospitals with low safety ratings are still required to provide the same standard of care to patients.

Doctors and hospital personnel must always take reasonable care when treating a patient. In Illinois, reasonable care means that a patient’s health care team must provide the same level of generally accepted care that other medical professionals would provide to a patient in similar circumstances. When a hospital staff member or doctor fails to use this sort of care, and that breach causes a patient to be injured, it is called medical malpractice, or negligence.

Whether a hospital receives an “A” or “C” grade, if a medical error is made, injured patients may be entitled to compensation. An “A” grade does not insulate a hospital from being liable. And while the rankings may inspire some poorly rated hospitals to implement new internal protocols, proof of improvements in some areas will not excuse a hospital from having to compensate wrongly injured patients.

No matter the hospital, injured patients may be eligible for both economic and non-economic damages. Economic damages compensate an injured patient for lost wages, medical expenses, and projected losses in future income. Non-economic damages cover pain and suffering, emotional distress, disfigurement, and a general diminution in a person’s ability to enjoy everyday life.

Have You Been Injured While Receiving Treatment at a Hospital?

Even if you were treated in a world-renowned hospital, one with high marks in all of the safety categories, you may be suffering because of medical malpractice. Just because a hospital is considered the best does not mean mistakes are not still being made. At Moll Law Group, we have represented patients who were injured at hospitals from the top and bottom of the ratings, and everywhere in between. We understand that medical malpractice can happen at any hospital and to any patient, and that all patients, no matter where they have been treated, deserve compensation when they are injured. For a free consultation, call Moll Law Group at (312) 462-1700.

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One Person Killed, Eight Injured In Accident on Interstate 57, Illinois Injury Lawyer Blog, November 17, 2015.