How Do Serious Hospital Safety Mistakes Happen?

When one out of every 25 hospital patients develops a preventable infection in this country, there’s reason to worry about hospital safety.  That’s why one organization measures patient safety and just released its latest grades for hospitals in Missouri and the other 49 states.

Leapfrog is a non-profit that focuses on patient safety.  Twice a year it releases patient safety grades for the nation’s hospitals.  A panel of experts reviews publicly available data and measures the information in a number of ways, including patient harm.

Encompassing 28 criteria for hospital patient safety, Leapfrog provides grades A through F, with A being the highest and F being a failing grade for keeping patients safe from medical errors.

Hospital Actions That Lead to Patient Harm

These criteria focus on several bad hospital practices that can endanger patients, including:

·         Doctor miscommunications

·         Patient neglect that leads to a fall

·         Poor hand hygiene by medical care staff

·         Communication about patient medication

The Leapfrog hospital safety grades can be found in an online database.  There are 28 hospitals graded when searching within a 50 mile radius of downtown St. Louis.  Of the St. Louis-area hospitals listed, just one out of four received an “A” grade.

Even more hospitals – nine – earned a “C” grade, while two St. Louis hospitals received a “D.” None of the 28 local hospitals received an “F.”  (Missouri hospitals overall placed 34th out of 50 states for its number of A-rated hospitals.)

Hospital Medical Errors

Each hospital’s grade can be broken down by reviewing measurements in five specific areas that involve patient safety:

Hospital acquired infections – infections developed following surgery, blood infections developed during a hospital stay, and urinary tract infections

Surgical errors – foreign objects left in the patient by the surgeon, accidental cuts and tears, patient deaths from surgical complications that could have been treated

Best practices to prevent medical errors – medications ordered through computers, safe administration of drugs, proper communication for patient discharge

Patient safety problems – bed sores developed during a hospital stay, tracking patient risks and taking steps to reduce those known risks, air or gas bubbles in patient bloodstreams

Hospital medical staff – leadership that makes preventing medical errors a priority, proper communication with nurses, proper level of nurse staffing, properly trained physicians for hospital ICUs

Measuring patient safety in hospitals is the first step.  Reducing preventable medical errors that gravely harm patients is the necessary follow-up action.

An experienced medical malpractice attorney can help achieve this.  If you were seriously hurt or had a love one die to a medical mistake, that attorney can provide not only justice for you and your family but also put a stop to a hospital’s negligent behavior.

The choice of a lawyer is an important decision that should not be based solely on advertisements.

Authored by Gray, Ritter & Graham, P.C., posted in Blog November 12, 2018