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Consumer Reports ranks hospital safety in Houston

Unfortunately, thousands of patients die each year because of improper hospital care in this country. Poor hospital care can happen for a number of reasons here in Houston, including a doctor's error in diagnosis, or a doctor or nurse's treatment mistake or surgical errors.

Consumer Reports recently investigated hospitals throughout the U.S., and found that medical mistakes happen at even the best hospitals, but they do happen more frequently in certain hospitals. Six hospitals in Houston were investigated, as the others would not provide their private data to the researchers.

Researchers ranked the hospitals in a variety of categories, including avoiding infections, overuse of CAT scans, readmissions after discharge and clear communication about medications and discharge, and gave each facility an overall score.

On a scale of 1 to 100, the best safety ranking in Houston went to Clear Lake Regional with 61. The highest score in the country went to a Montana hospital with 72.

Cypress-Fairbanks, Park Plaza, Methodist Hospital and Houston Northwest Medical Center all fell between 46 and 51. Kingwood Medical Center was given a 36.

Researchers found that one major area where many hospitals struggle is preventing hospital infections. Some hospitals with better scores, however, have figured out how to prevent these. Unfortunately, not one hospital received a top score for preventing patients from being readmitted after discharge or for communicating clear discharge and medication instructions.

When these types of negligent acts result in an injury, or even death, the doctors or hospitals can be held accountable under a medical malpractice claim if the party was not following generally accepted standards of practice. Medical malpractice law in Texas is very complicated, and it is important for victims or their loved ones to discuss their case with an experienced medical malpractice attorney.

Source: ABC 13, "Consumer Reports rates hospitals safety," Christi Myers, July 6, 2012

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