These days it seems as if an inordinate number of publications - both scientific and nonscientific - regularly release reports analyzing the frequency of hospital negligence or ranking the overall quality of healthcare provided at U.S. hospitals. While these studies are certainly a valuable source of information highlighting potential deficiencies in healthcare, they are perhaps too limited in their scope, meaning they only examine hospitals in the 50 states and fail to include the U.S. territories, a vital part of our country.
While this may seem like a non-issue, consider a recently published online study in the Archives of Internal Medicine entitled "Quality of Care in the U.S. Territories." It compared the performance of hospitals in the U.S. territories (Puerto Rico, Guam, the U.S. Virgin Islands, and the Northern Marina Islands) with those in the 50 states concerning overall treatment performance/patient outcomes for three conditions: acute myocardial infarction (AMI), heart failure (HF) and pneumonia (PNE).
"Studies about hospital quality of care in the U.S. typically exclude hospitals in the U.S. territories or combine them with other U.S. regional areas, masking potential differences between quality of care between the territories and states," reads the study.
The study revealed that hospitals in the U.S. territories underperformed by a significant margin in comparison with their stateside counterparts.
Specifically, researchers found the following:
- For every 100 admissions for PNE in the U.S. territories, three additional deaths result
- For every 100 admissions for AMI in the U.S. territories, two additional deaths result
- For every 100 admissions for HF in the U.S. territories, one additional death results
"The striking disparity revealed in this study demonstrates that people living in the U.S. territories are at a notable disadvantage compared with those in the U.S. states," reads the study.
The authors note that while changes to the hospital systems of the U.S. territories are needed, such changes may be difficult to introduce as the territories are legally prohibited from taking part in conversations concerning the structuring of national healthcare policy.
Stay tuned for more from our Texas medical malpractice blog ...
If you were seriously injured by hospital negligence or a surgical error, you should strongly consider contacting an experienced legal professional.
This post was for informational purposes only and is not to be construed as legal or medical advice.
Hospitals in the U.S. territories have higher death rates, worse outcomes (Fierce Healthcare)