If all hospitals performed as well as 5-star facilities, as ranked by an independent healthcare ratings company, 237,420 U.S. Medicare patient deaths could have been prevented between 2005 and 2007.
That's the upshot of a new study that finds you have a 70 percent lower chance of dying at a facility that is top-ranked by HealthGrades compared to its lowest-ranked ones across 17 procedures and conditions that were the reasons for the hospital visits. More than half of the Medicare patient deaths were associated with four conditions: sepsis (a systemic response to infection), pneumonia, heart failure and respiratory failure.
Researchers have long documented how hospitals can kill you. Blame is placed on everything from exhausted doctors and staff to antibiotic-resistant microbes.