Hospital Inequalities can Increase Risk of Patient Death
It is a frightening thought, but the hospital you choose can determine whether you live or die. As reported in the New York Times, a recent study compared patient treatment at a variety of hospitals. Researchers found that patients seeking care at the worst ranked hospitals were at a substantially higher risk of death or medical complication when compared to patients at the best facilities. The attorneys of Schochor, Federico and Staton, P.A. believe that every Baltimore, Maryland and Washington DC resident deserves a high standard of medical care, regardless of where they choose to seek that care.
Measurements of Inequality
Study researchers reviewed more than 22 million hospital admissions to analyze treatment outcomes. They found that patients at poor ranking hospitals were three times more likely to die and 13 times more likely to experience medical complications stemming from their treatment. The findings suggested that factors contributing to the performance of the hospital included:
- Average health and income of the patients
- Skill of the physicians and nurses
- The hospital’s culture
- Variations in treatment decisions
- The volume of cases generally seen by the hospital
A Lack of Transparency
According to study researchers, the belief that all hospitals offer the same general level of care is inaccurate. Death rates vary greatly, even for the same condition, and among facilities within a single locality. For example, a hospital on the outskirts of a city may have a 15% death rate for heart attack treatment, while a hospital in the middle of the city only has a two percent death rate for heart attack treatment.
Unfortunately for patients seeking care, these types of quality studies often keep the names of poorly performing facilities confidential. While there are some resources on the market to rate hospitals, the provided information is limited. As explained by study researchers, federal and state agencies increasingly release less information about medical outcomes, which negatively impacts the public. Study researchers assert that access to this information is extremely important for consumers, particularly as they choose between the limited number of hospitals included in their insurance networks. With data about the quality of service, they could make more informed decisions about where to seek treatment.
Medical malpractice attorneys advocate for injured patients
If you or a family member received substandard care from a Baltimore, Washington DC, or Maryland hospital, contact the medical malpractice attorneys of Schochor, Federico and Staton, P.A. for trustworthy and comprehensive representation. Call our office at 410-234-1000 for a consultation.