The hospital is the place we go to get better, at the times we’re at our worst. The first major study of hospital safety has found that despite efforts over the past 10 years to make hospitals safer, they remain disconcertingly dangerous places, harming rather than healing us more often than we realize.

The study published in the New England Journal of Medicine last fall, tracked patients at 10 North Carolina hospitals from 2002 to 2007 and found not only that harm to patients was common, but also that it didn’t decrease over time. About 18 percent of patients were harmed by medical care, the study determined, and a little over 63 percent of their injuries were preventable. Two-and-a-half percent of the injuries caused or contributed to a patient’s death.

The lead author of the study, Dr. Christopher P. Landrigan, told The New York Times the findings were a disappointment, but not a surprise, arising as they frequently did from hospitals’ continued failure to use proven error-avoiding measures.

“Until there is a more coordinated effort to implement those strategies proven beneficial,” he said, “I think that progress in patient safety will be very slow.”

If you were harmed during a hospital stay and believe the cause was negligent medical care, contact Hodes Milman for a free case evaluation. We’re aggressive personal injury and medical malpractice lawyers based in Orange County, serving all of California. We have the experience to take on the medical industry and have achieved multi-million dollar verdicts for our clients.