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Tuesday, January 22, 2008

Now it’s up to us to use the information: Hospital quality ratings on bedsores et al

Naomi Press' family said her life dramatically changed after she entered the hospital on her 85th birthday for a partial hip replacement. Naomi ended up dying 11 days after her release from the hospital.

Her death certificate blames a hospital-acquired bedsore, malnutrition and sepsis, which is an infection that can cause organ failure. Documents obtained from the Department of Public Health state the timeline. The hip surgery was on Jan. 10, 2006 and two days later doctors discovered she had a stroke. Then on Feb. 3, after several weeks in the hospital, nurses documented a stage three bedsore.

Under state law, it should have been reported to the Department of Public Health, but was not.

Hospitals in Massachusetts now report their rates of bedsores in a publicly available database organized by the Massachusetts Hospital Association. Now it's up to us to start using the information to get our family members into the safest hospitals when they need it. If Naomi's family could have used such a database, they might have gotten her into a safer hospital.

Of course, the decision of where to admit our family member is usually largely the doctor's decision.

Advice for Massachusetts residents: Email your doctor with this story, and suggest your doctor look up the quality ratings of the hospitals he or she admits patients to.

Browse for similar stories in our index at the very bottom of this page, or see the video.

Thanks to NBC30.com for the source story.

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