Who Rates Hospitals for Safety, and What Standards Do They Use?

The 1999 Institute of Medicine report To Err is Human: Building a Safer Health System revolutionized hospital safety ratings. This landmark report revealed that medical errors result in up to 98,000 deaths every year. This estimate suggests that more Americans die due to hospitals than in car crashes. Since the report’s publication, several organizations have doubled down their efforts to improve public awareness of hospital safety. The following are among the most important systems for rating and reviewing hospitals: Leapfrog Hospital Safety Grades Every year, The Leapfrog Group consolidates a variety of medical stats (along with feedback from experts) to…

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Does the Color of Your Car Affect How Safe It Is on the Road?

How does car color affect road safety? At first blush, the question may seem trivial. If you’re worried about accident prevention, isn’t it more important to focus on problems like DUI, distracted driving and failing infrastructure? Those factors obviously matter. But perhaps surprisingly, car color does seem to play a role—possibly. How might it matter? And why? First off, some colors can be harder to see in certain environments. Black cars at night, for example, can disappear into the unlit background. Under certain snowy or rainy conditions, silver cars could similarly be harder for other drivers to perceive. It’s also…

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Teens or Seniors: Who’s More Dangerous Behind the Wheel?

Auto accidents kill tens of thousands of people every year in the United States. No age group is safe. Two demographic groups in particular, however, seem to be at elevated risk: teenagers and the elderly. We’ve all heard awful stories involving both types of drivers—for instance, teens texting and blowing through red lights into oncoming traffic, and confused seniors slamming the accelerator instead of the brake, leading to tragic consequences. But what can an objective assessment tell us? Are teens more dangerous behind the wheel, or are senior citizens? Let’s look at the data. Teenage Drivers Per CDC statistics from…

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The Surprising Hazards of Scooters

Kids’ toys frequently make headlines because of recalls, faulty parts and choking hazards. There’s something terrifying about the idea that the things we buy for our little ones might harm them in an unforeseen way. This fear is not without merit. Manufacturers, for instance, are not always dogged when it comes to quality control. But choke-y components and unexpectedly sharp pieces aren’t the only scares. In fact, an innocuous-seeming item—the classic children’s scooter—causes a shocking amount of damage. Scooter Injury Statistics The kick scooter surged in popularity around 2000, thanks in large part to marketing efforts from a key manufacturer,…

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Tips to Prevent Overheating in the Elderly

The summer seems like an innocuous season for senior citizens—a time for chatting outdoors, grilling and playing in the sprinklers with your grandchildren. But summer heat and humidity create serious dangers. The body’s response to abnormal temperatures slows as we age, and many older adults suffer from chronic diseases that weaken their ability to self-regulate. Here are some common sense strategies to minimize the chances of overheating injuries. Stay Hydrated Heat and sun dry out the body: so rehydrate. Encourage everyone in your orbit, especially young children and older family members, to drink water irrespective of activity level. Minimize alcohol,…

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How Tired Are Doctors and Nurses, Really? (By the Numbers)

Tired doctors make more mistakes. Intuitively, we know this. And we may have read studies like this one (or related news reports). Yet medical culture still glorifies 28-hour shifts and puts residents through the ringer, often forcing them to work 80-hour weeks, all on an irregular sleep schedule that makes recovery from fatigue harder. The medical field has tried in the past to address this worrying problem, but how much have they achieved in recent years? How Tired Is Your Doctor? Regulations prohibit doctors from working more than 80 hours in a week or in excess of 28 hours in…

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How and Why Do Hospitals Get Shut Down?

Hospital closures throw communities into disarray, particularly in rural areas. Shutdowns disrupt emergency health services, putting locals at risk of injury and death. While urban areas (e.g. Washington D.C.) can generally finance alternative emergency care; poorer regions often lack resources to cope, especially after disasters like storms or fires. Why Do Hospitals Close? Many U.S. hospitals simply run out of money due to declining patient rates and uninsured patients. Others hemorrhage staff and can’t support community needs. Still others flounder because of inefficient management or logistical/infrastructure problems. Industry observers worry that this crisis will worsen in the next few years….

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Which Pieces of Medical Equipment Frequently Malfunction?

Medical devices serve a vital role. When operated effectively, they preserve patient health, minimize suffering and reduce cost of care. But they don’t always work as intended. In fact, devices fail far more often than most people realize. And these malfunctions cause injuries, accidents, and far too many deaths. Manufacturers insist, doggedly, that their products are safe, even when compelling evidence to the contrary is presented. And although device recalls occur with regularity, they come too late for thousands of patients. Which Devices Are at Risk for Failure? Any device that relies on blood or body monitoring is prone to…

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What Medical Documents Will I Need to Gather for My Medical Malpractice Case?

Medical malpractice cases are difficult to process for many reasons. You and your medical malpractice attorney will need to gather many different medical documents while litigating your lawsuit. Your lawsuit could be against a medical provider, a pharmaceutical business, or other medical entity.  You could help your case provide proper documentation if you gather the proper letters, records, forms, and data. Careful review of those documents may show that negligence on part of the health care professionals was involved. What Are the Different Kinds of Documents I Will Need? Medical records. Most of the time, your medical records will be…

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Tips to Ensure Your Doctors and Nurses Take Good Care of You in the Hospital

When you go to the hospital, you naturally want to assume everyone there has your best interests at heart—and most of the time, they do. However, when doctors and nurses work long shifts and care for many patients at once, it becomes easier for touch points to be overlooked or mistakes to be made. What can you do to help your healthcare providers give you the level of care you need and deserve? Here are some tips that may help. Be polite and respectful, even when you don’t feel like it. Let’s be honest: You’re not going to be at…

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