St. Lucie Medical Center in Port St. Lucie

St. Lucie Medical Center in Port St. Lucie

TREASURE COAST ― St. Lucie Medical Center in Port St. Lucie and Sebastian River Medical Center in Sebastian received the highest hospital safety scores on the Treasure Coast in a new report.

The Leapfrog Group, a national non-profit that represents employers in the health care field, contracted with the Johns Hopkins Armstrong Institute for Patient Safety and Quality to report on deaths in hospitals due to errors, accidents, injuries and infections.

According to the researchers, an estimated 160,000 lives are lost annually from avoidable medical errors.

The study reviews seemingly simple items like hospital hand washing policy, through more complicated issues like preventing infections and patient falls.

More than 2,600 hospitals nationwide were given grades of “A”, “B”, “C”, “D” and “F”. Grades are assigned every six months.

St. Lucie Medical Center and Sebastian River Medical Center were the only Treasure Coast hospitals to receive an “A” grade.

The researchers concluded that when compared to “A” hospitals, patients at “D” and “F” hospitals face a 92% greater risk of avoidable death. Patients at “C” hospitals face an 88% greater risk of avoidable death. Patients at “B” hospitals face a 35% greater risk of avoidable death.

If all hospitals had an avoidable death rate equivalent to “A” hospitals, 50,000 lives would have been saved.

These local hospitals each received a grade of “B”: Cleveland Clinic Indian River Hospital in Vero Beach, Lawnwood Regional Medical Center & Heart Institute in Fort Pierce, Cleveland Clinic Tradition Hospital in Port St. Lucie, and Cleveland Clinic Martin North Hospital in Stuart.

Cleveland Clinic Martin South Hospital in Stuart received a “C”.

No Treasure Coast hospitals received an F, the worst grade. The closest hospital to receive a D was Melbourne Regional Medical Center.

Researchers assessed five broad areas: infections, problems with surgery, practices to prevent errors, safety problems, and doctors, nurses, and hospital staff.

Each area then was divided into more detailed measures. For example, “infections” were divided into individual grades for such specifics as MRSA, blood, urinary tract, and surgical site.

The “problems with surgery” section studies a hospital’s experience with dangerous objects left in a patient’s body, surgical wounds split open, death from treatable complications, collapsed lung, breathing problems, blood clots, and accidental cuts and tears.

Of more than 2,600 hospitals graded nationwide, 32% earned an “A,” 26% earned a “B,” 36% earned a “C,” 6% a “D” and just under 1% an “F”.

The top ranked state is Oregon, where 58.06% of hospitals received an “A”. Florida is in the top half at number 17, with 35.09% “A” hospitals.

Tied at the bottom with zero “A” hospitals are Wyoming, Alaska, Washington, D.C., Delaware, and North Dakota.

“The good news is that tens of thousands of lives have been saved because of progress on patient safety,” said Leah Binder, president and CEO of the Leapfrog Group. “The bad news is that there’s still a lot of needless death and harm in American hospitals. Hospitals don’t all have the same track record, so it really matters which hospital people choose.”

Many different factors were calculated to arrive at the final grade, and they are all detailed on the organization’s website. To gain a more complete picture, visit and review the full report for each hospital.

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