Choice of hospital more important than patient’s economic status

In a perfect world all hospital patients would be treated equally regardless of their economic status, and medical malpractice statistics would not differ from one demographic to another.  But historically, studies have shown that poorer patients have lower post-surgery survival rates than wealthier patients in Connecticut and throughout the country.

A recent study shows that this may be because poorer patients typically go to hospitals with fewer resources while wealthier patients are able to select the best hospitals for their needs. The study concentrates more on the hospitals where the patients are being treated than the socioeconomic status of the patients themselves. The patients studied all had major surgery for cancer. When the study shifted to the hospital where the surgery and recovery took place, it was found that the status of the individual patient didn’t dictate his or her chance of recovery. It was the status of the hospital itself, depending on whether it primarily served poor communities or wealthy communities.

The study based its findings on FTR rates, or failure to rescue, which identifies patients who die after surgery from major surgical complications. The senior author of the study believes that the difference comes down to all of the factors operating in the total system of the hospital regardless of what community it serves.

Of course, medical malpractice can occur in any setting, regardless of the size of the hospital or its patient population. 

Any patient who receives a level of care that is not appropriate to the circumstances, and suffers negative consequences as a result, may want to consult an attorney experienced in medical malpractice cases to determine whether the facility, regardless of its status, is liable for the failure to properly treat the patient.

Source: Reuters.com, “Survival post-surgery linked to hospital differences,” Andrew Seaman, March 13, 2014

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