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Safety at teaching hospitals and non-teaching hospitals

The allegations contained in Medicare data concerning patient safety at a variety of so-called “teaching hospitals” is now the center of contention. One of the teaching hospitals singled out in the data is located in Ohio. The data concludes that overall “teaching hospitals” do poorly when it comes to hospital mistakes and patient safety.

The data in question states that teaching hospitals experience nearly 10 times more serious complications than non-teaching hospitals throughout the country. Past studies also seemed to have shown that higher rate of bloodstream infections occur at teaching hospitals.

A spokesperson for the Ohio facility mentioned above voiced disagreement over the findings. This individual stated that the supposedly high rates of accidental tears and lacerations at the facility came about because of honest reporting rather than care that were below standards at other facilities. Employees at teaching hospitals are careful and extremely thorough in their record keeping, and often will report items that maybe only incidental to a case.

Another defender of teaching hospitals felt that these facilities perform more difficult procedures more likely to result in complications. Thus comparing the treatment of a teaching hospital to other facilities may be comparing completely different kinds of care.

Though it’s difficult to determine which side is correct in the analysis of such data, the data does alert the public to possible medical problems occurring in various facilities. It matters little for a patient injured due to medical malpractice whether it happened at a teaching hospital or non-teaching medical facility. Medical malpractice claims are brought by attorneys on behalf of injured claimants because the injuries are often calamitous in nature and can involve long-term suffering and great financial cost.

Source: Fierce Healthcare, “Teaching hospitals blast their poor patient safety scores,” by Karen M. Cheung, Feb. 13, 2012


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