One important resource that our Illinois medical malpractice lawyers believe is helpful l for local patients is the Illinois Hospital Report Card. The website is published by the Illinois Department of Public Health and is made available to all consumers to that they can make more informed choices about the medical facilities that they visit. On the website you can access information on the cost of services hospital and treatment centers, nursing staff information, patient satisfaction survey data, and summaries of local laws that apply to medical consumer protection.
In addition, the website lists information on hospital quality and safety data-an important piece of information on all those who care about preventing instances of Illinois medical malpractice. Recent information collected on hospital safety and made available by the Illinois Hospital Report card reveals some encouraging news about local improvement in at least one area-the prevention of Illinois hospital acquired infections. The data shows that there was a significant drop in the number of reported infections in 2010 when compared to previous years.
These infections are almost always preventable and involve unsafe and unsanitary practices by medical professionals that allow patients to develop new infections on top of whatever original medical condition brought them to the facility to begin with. These complications can lead to thousands of preventable deaths across the country each year and literally billions of dollars in additional healthcare costs. There has been a strong push in recent years to lower the prevalence of these errors, and if this latest data is correct, Illinois may finally be making a bit of headway on the issue. To get an idea of how local hospitals are performing on the indicator of hospital safety, the Illinois Department of Health analyzed bloodstream infection rates associated with “central lines.” Those central lines include things like catheters inserted into the neck or arm, heart vessel studies, and blood withdrawals. Each of those lines inserted into the body can cause serious infection if proper controls are not maintained by medical professionals.
Overall, when looking at that data, the department noted that roughly 75% of hospital reported fewer rates of infections in 2010 as compared to the previous year. In total, there were 282 infections reported last year, while that figure was 383 the year before. If this data is true, that represents a good start in the effort to curb the prevalence of these infections and keep consumers safe. Of course, there remains a long way to go, and central line infections are just one piece of the overall puzzle. But this and all good news should be welcomed.
Our Illinois medical malpractice attorneys applaud the efforts of the medical professionals that are working to keep infection rates down at local hospitals. While we advocate on behalf of consumers and patients who are victimized by inadequate practices, we are capable of recognizing beneficial improvements by area medical professionals. In fact, we believe that allowing patient-victims to maintain open, honest, and fair access to the justice system is one of the key factors that encourage medical facilities to make changes that lead to these improvements.
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