When Illinois residents need urgent medical care or are preparing for a procedure and treatment, they will generally focus on their own situation and not think about other issues that could impact the outcome. However, patient safety and medical errors have long been a challenge that people must consider.
To try and ensure people are aware of potential problems, researchers assess hospitals to determine the prevalence of medical missteps that harm patients. The most recent safety grades are now available and it shows Illinois is in the middle of national rankings for patient safety.
Some hospitals improved while others got worse
The safety grades are conducted by Leapfrog and analyze almost 3,000 hospitals throughout the U.S. for their performance. The hospitals are then graded from A to F. There were 109 hospitals in Illinois that were ranked. The overall ranking was 28th out of the 50 states. This was the same as it was in the previous assessment. Nearly one-quarter were given an A. This was a slight decrease from the 26.1% that received that grade the prior time.
This information is released twice a year. While there are 30 factors that contribute to the grades, there are five primary ones. Most are based on communication between staff members, doctors, nurses and patients. Illinois did not have any facility with an F, but several were given a D. Some had a C in the previous ranking and were downgraded.
The health crisis led to hospitals paying greater attention to safety. That includes preventing avoidable patient infections. Still, there are bound to be gaps in patient care. Since communication is such a key aspect of taking care of patients, a simple misstep in a doctor ordering medication and a nurse misunderstanding what was ordered can lead to a worsened condition, illness and death. This is just one example of the types of errors that can occur.
If medical malpractice is suspected, an investigation is necessary
When receiving medical care, an unexpected worsening of the condition or a separate illness or injury should not be accepted without questioning how it happened. The medical professionals could have made a mistake that caused the problem.
Medical malpractice comes in many forms and can lead to major expenses, long-term damage and death. It harms people and their families. Recognizing what happened and gathering evidence is key to holding doctors and hospitals accountable. These cases are complex and knowing what to look for while taking the necessary steps is imperative.