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According the 2010 HealthGrades Patient Safety in American Hospitals study released earlier this week, nearly 1 million patient safety incidents occurred among Medicare patients at U.S. hospitals over the last three years.
The occurrences, which included bed sores, post-operative hip fractures, potentially fatal blood clots and post-operative physiologic derangements, cost the healthcare system nearly $9 billion between 2006 and 2008. Nearly one in ten patients suffering a hospital-related safety incident died as a result of the event.
Rick May, a vice president at HealthGrades and co-author of the study said that "it is disheartening to see that the numbers have not changed since last years study and, in fact, certain patient safety incidents, such as post-operative sepsis, are on the rise."
However, the study also discovered that hospitals ranked in the top 5 percent in terms of patient safety saw 43 percent fewer incidents than those medical centers that were found to be the least safe. May noted that if all hospitals performed as well as the top 5 percent, nearly 220,000 patient safety incidents could be avoided.
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