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Are Training Hospitals More Dangerous for Patients?

A recent study indicates that hospitals that train doctors have a higher rate of death after emergency surgeries than other hospitals. The finding is quite concerning given that teaching hospitals account for more than a fifth of the country's hospitals. There are more than 1,000 teaching hospitals throughout the U.S., including Michigan.

According to research published in the Annals of Surgery, the chance of dying after an emergency surgery was 20 percent higher at a teaching hospital as compared to their non-teaching counterpart.

Twenty-three out of every 1,000 patients died at non-teaching hospitals after emergency surgery, while 28 out of every 1,000 died at teaching hospitals. Authors of the study were unable to provide an exact explanation for the different rates of death between the types of hospitals, but it may be attributed to the severity of illnesses of patients at each hospital.

A University of Michigan surgery professor, who was not involved in the study, Dr. Justin Dimick, stated that the results of the study do not reflect the types of patients that are hospitalized at teaching hospitals. He generally feels that teaching hospitals tend to get the more complex cases. For example, a cancer patient at a teaching hospital may have more severe cancer than a cancer patient at a non-teaching hospital; something the study did not take into account.

Regardless of the actual reasons behind the increased risk of death at teaching hospitals, patients need to protect themselves from potential injury. Medical errors occur every day that may severely injure, or possibly kill, patients. If you have been injured due to mistakes that occurred during a hospital stay, contact an experienced attorney in your area today to be advised of your rights.

Source: Reuters, "Which hospitals have more problems after surgery?" Kerry Grens

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