Hospitals provide medical care for millions of people in the United States. Patients expect to be taken care of, not put in harm’s way, when they go to the hospital. Unfortunately, patient safety varies greatly depending on the hospital.

Every year, hospitals receive a letter grade by a national panel for patient safety. The latest report shows that only one-third of states have hospitals that received an “A” rating. New Mexico was not on the list of states with the highest or lowest percentage of A-rated hospitals, according to the recent report. More troubling is the finding that New Mexico was one of the states with hospitals that received an “F” rating.

What impacts a hospital’s rating?

A hospital’s rating is based on incidents of medical mistakes and how it impacts patient safety. Medical mistakes can range from medication and surgical errors to infections. In 2018, some of the most common types of medical mistakes in hospitals include:

  • Medication errors
  • Infections
  • Missed or delayed diagnosis
  • Inadequate monitoring after a procedure
  • Inadequate follow-up care
  • Anesthesia errors

These mistakes can have devastating consequences for patients and their families. Despite the hospital grades each year, patient safety is still lacking necessary improvements. Medical errors remain the third leading cause of death in the United States, even though a majority of mistakes are preventable.

Patient safety advocacy groups continue to call for better regulations in hospitals to address patient safety concerns and to improve overall safety in hospitals. This recent report will likely result in increased attention to medical errors in hospitals to try and keep patients safe and to reduce medical costs in each state.

Patients and family members who suspect they were victims of a medical error while at the hospital should speak to an attorney right away. You may have a malpractice claim against the hospital, but it is vital to act quickly to protect yourself and your loved ones.