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Consumer Reports survey downrates several prominent hospitals

After 18 months of research and preparation, Consumer Reports published a survey that ranks hospitals across the nation on the basis of how well patients fared during and after certain surgical procedures. The survey drew a surprising conclusion: Smaller hospitals may meet or exceed the performance of large and more well-known hospitals. Two Colorado hospitals, Memorial Health System and Penrose-St. Francis Health Services, both in Colorado Springs, received a high rating.

The study examined 2,463 hospitals during the years 2009 through 2011. Patients who were at least 65 years old and had back surgery, hip or knee replacement, angioplasty or carotid artery surgery were the subjects of the study. The hospitals were then ranked according to surgical mistakes and fatalities. Previous studies had more general categories and factored the hospitals' reputation into the ratings. This was the first study to concentrate specifically on surgery mistake incidents and post-surgery mortality rates.

Absent from the high-ranking medical facilities were several large nationally acclaimed hospitals such as Johns Hopkins Bayview Medical Center and the Mayo Clinic Health System. The average teaching hospital didn't rate any better than non-teaching facilities, and, with the exception of a few prominent large urban hospitals such as Mt. Sinai in New York City and University Hospitals Case Medical Center in Cleveland, rural hospitals outperformed their urban counterparts.

People who believe that they or their loved ones are victims of malpractice or negligence as a result of a hospital stay should contact a medical malpractice lawyer. The lawyer may pursue a claim against the doctor or any other hospital employee whose substandard care resulted in their patient's substantial injury or death. In challenging the facility's standard of care, a lawyer now has new ammunition to demonstrate that a bigger facility doesn't necessarily mean better care.

Source: CBS News, "Consumer Reports study looks at surgery mortality, complication rates", Michelle Castillo, July 31, 2013

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