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Hospital Negligence Statistics Often Closely Guarded

stethoscope.jpgInformation about hospital negligence statistics is often closely guarded, making it difficult for the public to understand which hospitals have numerous violations. Illinois public hospitals have paid over $180 million in the past decade for patient deaths. These errors have a lasting impact on the families of the victims. Families who have lost loved ones due to hospital negligence should consult Chicago malpractice lawyers.

Comparing Patient Safety Events Difficult From Hospital to Hospital

The University of Illinois revealed around 200 patient safety events per week. These events had varying degrees of severity. U of I also noted that it is difficult to compare statistics with other hospitals and institutions because of the veil of secrecy around patient safety.

Public information on how much money hospitals pay in lawsuits is scarce, and every hospital may have a difference procedure. Comparing data across the nation is nearly impossible because of limited information. Malpractice claims are not typically made public, except for very large settlements. 

Hospitals must work hard to keep patient safety at the forefront. However, accidents do happen. Victims and their families should not have to pay the price for these accidents. Families of victims often say that getting information about an incident can be challenging. Malpractice attorneys can answer questions that a grieving family may have.

Chicago's Two Public Hospitals Have Paid Out Over $160 Million

There were approximately 40 cases against the Cook County Health and Hospitals System from 2012 to 2016, which were awarded over $80.5 million. One such case, filed by Michele Mallicott on behalf of her mother, Linda Myers, was settled for $1.5 million.

Myers, a 60-year-old housekeeper, was also a cancer patient. She vomited and choked during a CAT scan. Myers stopped breathing long enough to cause permanent brain damage, and she died eight months later.

The other major hospital system in Chicago, the University of Illinois Hospital and Health Sciences System, faced 33 medical malpractice claims during the same period. U of I agreed to pay $83.7 million to victims and their families. Chicago malpractice lawyers are familiar with cases involving local hospitals, and can prove to be an asset when filing for compensation.

Increasing Number of Medical Mistakes Despite Effort to Cut Down

Mistakes are costly in terms of the toll on victims' lives and they contribute to rising health care costs. To try to curb the number of medical errors, officials from Medicare and Medicaid are reducing payments to hospitals with high numbers of preventable deaths, injuries, and infections. An estimated 250,000 Americans die each year because of medical errors.

The Leapfrog Group, founded by Boeing, General Electric and other major employers, grades hospitals for safety issues twice a year. Cook County (Stroger) received a grade of "C," and the University of Illinois received a "D" in the last report of 2016. Both hospitals saw a decline from a grade of "B" as recently as 2013. Other finding include:

  • Of all hospitals graded, only 157 received a grade of "D"
  • The University of Chicago and Rush earned an "A"
  • Northwestern earned a "B"
  • Medicare and Medicaid payments were cut to Stroger and U of I in late 2014 because of the high rates of incidents
  • Northwestern Memorial Hospital in Chicago also experienced rate cuts

Errors are Partially Due to Increased Workload

As Americans age, more and more patients will seek treatment. Stroger admitted more than 23,000 patients in 2015 and had over 134,000 emergency room visits. While human error is inevitable, hospitals must gather data about incidents and use the data to improve care.

The average primary care physician has around 2,300 patients under his or her care. There are around 93.2 patient encounters per week or 19 patients per day. Nearly 75% of doctors in this survey reported being overworked and overextended.

With doctors facing more and more patients, errors inevitably increase. Hospitals should do everything in their power to provide enough physicians and nurses to ensure proper care. Patients should not have to suffer because of staffing issues. Malpractice lawyers can assist families in recovering compensation after a death.

What Should Victims or Families of Victims Do?

Unfortunately, some victims never get to see the outcome of their cases. Wendy Cash, a cancer patient at Stroger, sued because of an infection that resulted in a limb amputation. The case was settled after five years for $2.4 million. Wendy Cash had been dead for over three years at that point.

Families of victims now have to face life without their loved one. Compensation may be owed for:

  • Lost wages 
  • Lost companionship
  • Pain and suffering
  • Funeral expenses
  • Medical bills 

Experienced malpractice lawyers can work with families during the most difficult and painful time of their lives to ensure that any owed compensation is awarded.

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