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Consumer Reports released its first ever report of hospital safety ratings. Stating that "Hospitals should be places you go to get better, but too often the opposite happens" the consumer rating agency wrote that:

Infections, surgical mistakes, and other medical harm contribute to the deaths of 180,000 hospital patients a year, according to projections based on a 2010 report from the Department of Health and Human Services. Another 1.4 million are seriously hurt by their hospital care. And those figures apply only to Medicare patients. What happens to other people is less clear because most hospital errors go unreported and hospitals report on only a fraction of things that can go wrong.

The report is even more shocking:

“There is an epidemic of health-care harm,” says Rosemary Gibson, a patient-safety advocate and author. More than 2.25 million Americans will probably die from medical harm in this decade, she says. “That’s like wiping out the entire populations of North Dakota, Rhode Island, and Vermont. It’s a man-made disaster.”

Noting that many hospitals have undertaken patient saftey intitiatives, Consumer Reports goes on to explain that more needs to be done to keep patients safe in hospitals.

To address that problem, Consumer Reports has for the first time rated hospitals for safety, using the most current data available to us at the time of our analysis. It includes information from government and independent sources on 1,159 hospitals in 44 states. For this article, we also interviewed patients, physicians, hospital administrators, and safety experts; reviewed medical literature; and looked at hospital inspections and investigations.

The ratings can be found here, but they do require a subscription to the website. Unfortunatley, only 18% of hospitals are included in the ratings because so few report data related to mistakes made. Still, these ratings are an important first step in creating a safer hospital experience.

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