About 180,000 Medicare patients die each year from hospital accidents, errors and infections, according to the U.S. department of Health and Human Services.  Another 1.4 million are seriously hurt by their hospital care. 

So, how safe is your hospital?  Two new rating systems help you check before you check-in:

  • Leap frog group also grades our hospitals.  Speciality hospitals, VA and other government hospitals and long-term care facilities are not included. 

Bill Hogan, AARP

and what should your hospital be doing to prevent medical errors?

if you do nothing else watch the 2 videos in this bulletin:




Lessons From America's Safest Hospitals

More than 180,000 people die every year from hospital errors. Here's what the top medical centers are doing to improve your odds


In November 4, 2004, Mary McClinton, a beloved 69-year-old social worker and mother of four, checked into Virginia Mason Medical Center in Seattle for a relatively complex but routine procedure to treat a brain aneurysm. Doctors planned to inject her with a contrast dye to help them guide a stent into her brain, via a catheter in her leg, to repair the aneurysm. Instead, they injected her with an antiseptic — a topical cleaning agent — that had been stored in an unlabeled container on the same tray as the dye. The antiseptic blocked the flow of blood in her leg, which swelled to twice its normal size.

Within hours, McClinton's blood pressure dropped, her kidneys failed and she suffered a stroke. As the toxin coursed through her system, her other organs began to fail as well. Nineteen agonizing days later, surrounded by her grief-stricken family and friends, Mary McClinton died, her son Gerald holding her hand.Beth Howard, AARP The Magazine, April/May issue