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Government website offers hospital error information

Medical malpractice and doctor errors are issues everyone is concerned with these days. Individuals depend on their health care professionals to heal, not harm. But how can Pitt County residents tell if a particular hospital is up to snuff or not? Is there a reliable way to investigate a hospital for doctor error or other information individuals need?

The answer is yes, with some qualifications. A new website is available for Pitt County residents, as well as others within the United States. The site is hosted at medicare.gov and it provides a variety of details, including how well hospital doctors communicate with their patients and how patients rate the overall service of the particular hospital. One drawback, however, is that some of the details may be out of date by as much as a year or more.

The site is organized into sections such as Care Measures and Patient Experience among others. Some of the sections, such as Care Measure, is based on medical chart review and can be considered factual. Other sections are based on personal opinions from patients and may be somewhat less than factual. Users of the site should understand this as knowing what is fact and what is opinion can be important. Pitt County Memorial Hospital, Lenoir Memorial Hospital and Onslow Memorial Hospital are all listed on the site.

No one wants to suffer because of doctor negligence or hospital negligence, but these medical mistakes can and do happen. When someone is injured or killed because of hospital error, families may want to consult with an experienced medical malpractice attorney. The lawyer may help get to the bottom of what happened and offer legal advice concerning options that may be available, including the prosecution of medical malpractice claims when facts demonstrate negligent care.

Source: The Eyewitness News 9, "Website lets you track hospital safety, but only if you use it right," Alex Freedman and Jim Niedelman, Oct. 18, 2011

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