How to Check a Hospital’s Safety Record

Whether you simply want to know how the hospitals in your area rank, or you are trying to choose a hospital because you have an upcoming surgery or procedure; these are the things you may think about. The Leapfrog Hospital Safety Grade should be your first stop.

The Safety Grade can tell you things like:

• Does my hospital value patient safety by supporting strong health care teams?
• Are there protocols and standards in place for preventing errors at my hospital?
• How well does my hospital prevent infections and encourage handwashing?

Safety statistics provide patients with data and information to make informed choices about which hospitals are enforcing minimum safety standards and laws. The Leapfrog survey asks for simulations and information concerning safety and other general information such as data on maternity services. All the data and the letter grade are open to consumers on the Leapfrog Hospital Safety Grade website at Each participating hospital is given a letter grade. Sadly, some hospitals decline to fill out the survey. Sometimes hospitals only fill out part of it, resulting in an incomplete grade. When checking how your hospital ranks, it is a good idea to check other hospitals in the area.

Sometimes patients have no choice but to go to a hospital with a C grade rating or worse. You may live in a rural community where hospital choices are sparse, or your doctor prefers or only works at a certain facility. What happens if you have no choice and must go to a hospital that makes you nervous based on their rating? Have an advocate (this can be a friend or family member who is checking in on you). Speak up (either you or your advocate, ask questions—for example, if you got a yellow pill yesterday and are being given a blue pill today, ask for an explanation). Ask everyone who enters your room to wash their hands (this is the easiest way to prevent infection). Bring a list of your medications (this will help in eliminating errors). Avoid falls (call for a nurse or an aide to help you out of bed if you are just recovering from surgery, etc.) These precautions work for every hospital patient. Even if you are in an A grade hospital, it is important to keep an eye on the basics.

In these important times right now, Thomas & Wan, LLP wants to keep you informed of different things to think about when choosing a hospital for you or a family member, so that you feel comfortable. If you have any questions or concerns about your treatment in the hospital, please give us a call. We hope you get the best care possible, but if something has happened to you in a hospital and medical malpractice was done to you or a family member, please call us today. We are here to answer all your questions.

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