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Chicago-area hospitals receive more A grades than other cities

Chicago-area hospitals received more A grades than any other metropolitan area in the United States, according to a recent survey conducted by a national monitoring organization.

33 hospitals in Chicago got the highest grades on their report cards as issued by the not-for-profit Leapfrog Group of Washington, D.C. The organization comprises large employers and health-care purchasers including Boeing, General Motors and Federal Express. Leapfrog members use information such as the hospital report cards when they contract with health-care plans to help direct patients toward the best possible care. Despite the best efforts of doctors, surgeons, dentists and other medical staff, Chicago medical malpractice does occur.

The grade of a hospital reflects its performance in preventing medical errors, containing infection and taking care of its patients. According to the organization, out of 146 hospitals around the country that scored D or F grades, eight are in Illinois. An F grade means a hospital presents a hazardous environment for patients.

Illinois residents also may check a hospital's ratings through the state's website at healthcarereportcard.illinois.gov. The site allows comparison of various services but does not use an A to F grading system.

Medical negligence often results when people or facilities fail to comply with proper medical procedures or fail to diagnose certain types of disease. The results can be devastating to victims and their family members.

Hospital errors may still happen even in a facility with all A ratings. The report cards merely reflect whether a hospital can provide adequate care and attention to patients. A patient who feels that he or she was wronged by a doctor or facility may file a lawsuit. An investigation is needed to prove negligence on the part of medical staff or facilities. Once proven, however, a victim may recover various amounts that depend on the extent of the damages received.

Source: Chicagotribune.com, "Hospitals, A to F," Dec. 1, 2012

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