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New Grading System Puts Safety in Question for Many Texas Hospitals

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Many people view the hospital as a safe haven; somewhere they will receive the best possible treatment and care. Few realize the extent of the mistakes, misjudgments and neglect that are always possibilities in a hospital environment. In fact, according to the Fort Worth Star Telegram, “Authorities say more than 400 Americans die every day because of preventable accidents, errors and infections suffered in hospitals.” Given such an alarming statistic, it is no surprise that medical malpractice suits continue to soar. Recently, The Leapfrog Group, a non-profit quality improvement organization has applied a study and grading system to thousands of hospitals all over the country. A grade from A to F is assigned to a hospital on the basis of 26 scores that range from surveys to preventable instances of infection, falls and post-operation complications. There is even a score given for the level of cooperative teamwork amongst hospital staff, because in crisis situations a communication error can often mean life or death for a patient.

Leapfrog surveyed 219 hospitals in Texas, and the results may surprise many. While five Tarrant County hospitals received A’s, eight received B’s and C’s (no hospital has received a D or F as of yet). An A is awarded to hospitals that exceed national averages on the 26 measures, while C’s are given to hospitals that fall below the national average. Notable hospitals with A grades include Texas Health Harris Methodist Hospital Fort Worth and Huguley Memorial Medical Center.

So, what does all of this mean? While there are many criticisms of the Leapfrog survey, claiming that its results are too simple to reflect the complexities of overall hospital quality, it is a powerful reminder not to assume that you are always safe and well taken care of when you enter a given hospital. The fact that several Tarrant County hospitals have failed to meet the safety standards of even just one study is cause enough for greater awareness of the risks one takes in choosing a hospital. It can be difficult for a patient to accurately judge their potential safety, and studies like this are a step in the right direction for giving patients a better understanding of and control over their own well-being. It is essential for patients to do the proper research before choosing any treatment option, because despite recent efforts to increase medical transparency, a true understanding of personal risk can be difficult to glean from the extensive jargon and chaos of a hospital visit. While it should be the job of the medical community to ensure patient safety, such a responsibility can often go overlooked.

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At Borchardt Law Firm, we wish for no family to ever experience incapacitating tragedies due to medical malpractice. Our firm has the experience and the drive necessary to continue to strive for the improved protection of future generations of Texans. If you or a loved one have ever suffered from a related misfortune and feel you were not properly warned about the potential risks, don’t hesitate to contact a lawyer to discuss any legal compensation you might be entitled to. Borchardt Law Firm represent clients over many areas in Texas; feel free to give us a call.

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