Many argue that the world is becoming more and more flat with each passing year, as the barriers to conducting business across borders have almost disappeared. That holds true in the medical world as well, as the cost of having medical procedures performed in other states may be more affordable, compared to what local doctors would charge. California residents may be interested to know that traveling out of state for medical care may increase the chance of hospital negligence, however.
Experts had been operating under the belief 98,000 deaths in America were caused by preventable hospital error. That statistic was from 1984 data, however. A recent report puts that figure closer to 440,000 deaths per year, which does not even account for those who experience non-fatal injuries. When looking at the big picture, that means that hospital negligence accounts for roughly one-sixth of all deaths each year in America.
The biggest concern with the data collected on hospital safety is that most of the data is not readily available to the patients, at least not in a form that will allow them to make an educated decision when it comes to selecting a hospital for their care. The countless organizations that measure hospital safety measure different aspects of safety, so a patient may find their local hospital at the top of one list and near the bottom of another. For example, the number of reported infections are listed on one list while the number of reported foreign objects left inside patients is listed on yet another.
When California residents shop around to try to to reduce the cost of care by traveling outside the state, they may increase the risk of hospital negligence. While the risks of medical procedures will never be nonexistent, patients everywhere may still be protected in the event of a mistake happening. Filing a claim against any hospital that has demonstrated negligence may result in compensation that can be applied toward incurred medical expenses or any other damages.
Source: The New York Times, To Make Hospitals Less Deadly, a Dose of Data, Tina Rosenberg, Dec. 4, 2013