The Leapfrog Group is a nonprofit healthcare watchdog group that grades more than 2,700 hospitals twice a year. The hospitals receive a letter grade from A to F based on their ability to protect patients from avoidable errors, accidents, or injuries.
Maryland’s hospitals scored pretty well this round, though a high score does not indicate that mistakes cannot be made. For example, there were 15 hospitals that received an A grade, but all of those hospitals were cited for some critical errors. A few examples include:
- Frederick Health Hospital, which performed “below average” for multiple surgical errors, patient falls and bedsores.
- Howard County General Hospital, which scored “below average” for MRSA and c. diff infections, and responsiveness of hospital staff.
- The Johns Hopkins Hospital, which scored “below average” in every tracked area of infections and multiple surgical errors.
There were also 15 hospitals that received a B grade and 12 hospitals that received a C grade. There was only one Maryland hospital that received a D grade, and that was the University of Maryland Prince George’s Hospital Center. It scored “below average” in multiple areas, from infection prevention to staff communication errors to surgical mistakes.
The purpose of Leapfrog’s Hospital Safety Grade list is twofold: it aims to give patients a neutral, transparent look at their local hospitals so they can make informed decisions about their care, and to reduce the deaths and injuries that are caused by hospital errors by forcing facilities to address their weaknesses.
What are hospital errors?
According to a recent study from John Hopkins, hospital errors are now the third-leading cause of death in the United States. Researchers predict that 160,000 lives are cut short every year as a result of avoidable medical errors. Some examples of hospital errors include hospital-acquired infections, delayed diagnosis, insufficient follow-up after treatment, substandard monitoring after a procedure, medication errors, and an inability to follow proper precautions.
What are the causes of hospital errors?
Hospital errors occur for several reasons. One common reason is a breakdown in communication:
- Between medical professionals. Poor communication between a medical professional and patient or another medical professional often results in hospital errors.
- Between patients and medical professionals. This type of breakdown in communication happens when a patient’s information fails to follow the patient when he or she is transferred to another facility.
Problems such as being prescribed the incorrect medication or misdiagnosis occur as a result of this type of issue. Human error is another reason for hospital errors. Medical professionals are capable of performing several costly mistakes, like labeling the incorrect specimens or failing to follow a procedure properly.
What are the effects of hospital negligence?
In the very worst-case scenarios, a patient will die because of an act of medical negligence. Others may need revisions surgeries or live with chronic pain or discomfort.
However, patients also live with emotional and mental trauma. Some patients experience post-traumatic stress disorder by reliving the experience and experiencing feelings of depression, anxiety, and paranoia related to the incident. Some patients lose trust and faith in the medical industry as a result of the hospital error, which can prevent them from seeking out help with other medical needs or emergencies.
The patients are not the only ones who suffer from the consequences of a hospital error. Family members of the patients can also experience feelings of fear, PTSD, anger, and anxiety over a hospital error. If a patient passed away as a result of a hospital error, family members may spend years trying to figure out what happened to their loved one. Some family members also experience feelings of isolation and depression.
When to call a Maryland medical malpractice attorney
Medical malpractice lawsuits are not lawsuits that you want to handle on your own. These cases consist of complex legal and medical concepts and require skill and experience analyzing medical records and handling complex litigation. A Maryland medical malpractice attorney is familiar with both the law and the procedures of a medical malpractice lawsuit. You want to call a lawyer as soon as you realize you are injured, so you are not time-barred from a claim.
An attorney can also help you or your loved one hold additional parties liable for any injuries sustained from a hospital error. It may be that a surgeon and a hospital are liable, or that there was a pharmacy error. Your case could involve systemic failures at every step. Knowing who could be liable for your injuries is an important part of the case.
You deserve the highest levels of care when you visit a hospital or emergency room. At Plaxen Adler Muncy, P.A., we advocate on your behalf when a negligent doctor or staff member has caused you serious harm. To schedule a free consultation at one of our nine offices throughout Maryland, please call 410-730-7737 or contact us online. If you cannot come to our office, we can make arrangements to visit you.