When patients go to the hospital in New Mexico, they expect to receive safe, quality care. However, not all hospitals live up to the same standards. Some hospitals have obtained low rankings over the years for patient safety and health concerns, including two D-rated hospitals and one F-rated hospital in the state. At these facilities, patients are more likely to suffer from safety lapses, dangerous infections and medical mistakes and misdiagnosis.

Around 2,600 U.S. hospitals were studied by Leapfrog, an organization that issues hospital grades based on reported incidents that reflect safety and quality at the facility. The organization assigns letter grades to hospitals and uses stricter criteria than the federal government. It ranked 168 hospitals nationwide as failing or close to failing, including ones in Alamogordo, Farmington and Gallup.

The American Hospital Association responded to the Leapfrog rankings, saying that they may not reflect improvements and safety changes that have been made at hospitals. It said that care facilities have improved efforts to prevent infections and medical mistakes and noted that some individual incidents may have been magnified in the rating process. The AHA also said that poorly ranked hospitals absorb a larger number of sicker patients, who are more likely to suffer adverse outcomes regardless of the quality of care.

However, Leapfrog claimed that it adjusts its data for some metrics, such as hospital-acquired infections, based on the level of illness of the patients involved. It also emphasized that some types of medical mistakes are incidents that should simply never happen, such as surgical errors where foreign objects are left behind.

Every year, around 160,000 people lose their lives due to medical mistakes that could have been avoided, while many more suffer worsened health conditions. A medical malpractice attorney could help a patient harmed by a doctor’s error pursue compensation.