STATE—New Jersey’s 72 hospitals in 2007 committed nearly 9,400 “serious medical mistakes” that threatened patient safety, according to a report issued by the state Department of Health and Senior Services.
Trinitas Hospital in Elizabeth was the lowest rated facility in Union County, according to the report, which showed Robert Wood Johnson University Hospital at Rahway and Overlook Hospital in Summit scoring higher in every category.
Results varied among Middlesex County’s five hospitals, which are Middlesex JFK Medical Center in Edison, Raritan Bay Medical Center (RBMC) Old Bridge, RBMC Perth Amboy plus Robert Wood Johnson University Hospital and St. Peter’s University Hospital, both in New Brunswick.
Trinitas President and Chief Executive Officer Gary S. Horan, FACHE questioned the validity of the results presented in the report, saying they “are misleading and possibly in error, and at the very least they detract from our hospital-wide successes in reducing the rate of infection.”
“The report gives the impression that only 96 surgeries were performed at Trinitas and of these, 5 patients – or 1 in every 20 – suffered post-operative infection,” said Horan. “This does a great disservice to our staff and to our institution, which provided exemplary care to over 7,500 surgical patients in 2007.”
The sixth state report was the first to identify hospitals by name on the rate of errors. AARP, a group that advocated strongly for public release of the hospital-specific information, was pleased to get results.
See Related Story: While the state health department report focused on quality, quantity has been a problem plaguing medical care in the Garden State as the Corzine administration follows a policy encouraging hospitals to shut down.
“When our members are looking for a health facility, they want to choose one that is working the hardest to reduce the number of medical errors to zero,” said Patricia Kelmar, associate state director for advocacy for AARP New Jersey. “This report shows that every hospital can be doing more to protect patients from preventable mistakes that cause injury, pain and even cost them money.”
The report card measured the quality of each hospital’s treatment of patients suffering from a heart attack, heart failure, and pneumonia or undergoing surgery.
Officials say New Jersey met or exceeded national averages most measures of quality care, but patients in the state developed an infection and their surgical wounds “split open” more frequently then elsewhere.
Readers can view the full report at http://web.doh.state.nj.us/apps2/hpr/docs/2009/report.pdf.
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