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Hospitals May Be the Worst Place to Stay When You're Sick

Plus, how to protect yourself from medical errors

A coiled up catheter. 1,500 lives were saved in 18 months when Michigan ICUs began using a checklist of practices for handling catheters.

— Photo by Dan Saelinger

Naturally, many patients want to compare the safety records of their local hospitals before checking in. But that's still tough to do. "There are no existing data that can allow you to be confident you've picked the safest, highest-quality place to get care," says Chassin, who helped prepare the seminal To Err Is Human report. "One reason is that safety and quality varies even within health systems. Just because they're great in one area doesn't mean that they're great in another."

Katharine Greider is a freelance writer in New York who reports on health and science.

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