According to the Patient Safety Journal, 440,000 individuals die in the U.S. each year from medical errors. This means that medical errors are the third leading cause of death in this country. The Leapfrog Group, a nonprofit devoted to improving health care quality, safety and transparency, recently published its 2014 Hospital Safety Score for U.S. Hospitals. This survey assigns each hospital a letter grade based on the ability to prevent errors, injuries and infections. In Vermont, Central Vermont Medical Center and Southwestern Vermont Medical Center both received “C” grades. Brattleboro Memorial Hospital, Northwestern Medical Center and the University of Vermont Medical Center (formerly, Fletcher Allen Health Care) all received “B” grades. Rutland Regional Medical Center was the only hospital in Vermont to receive an “A” rating. To protect themselves and family members, consumers must educate themselves about their condition and treatment. Also, they must not be afraid to ask questions and to speak up if they don’t understand something or if something does not seem right. Click on the link for more information about the Hospital Safety Score or to view the list of state rankings.
Tina Shoup, a partner in the Burlington Vermont law firm of Shoup Evers and Green, concentrates on medical malpractice cases.