Intended for healthcare professionals

Letters Hospital mortality ratios

Death is final: getting the balance right

BMJ 2010; 340 doi: (Published 25 May 2010) Cite this as: BMJ 2010;340:c2741
  1. David I Ben-Tovim, director, clinical epidemiology and redesigning care units1
  1. 1Flinders Medical Centre, Bedford Park, SA 5042, Australia
  1. david.ben-tovim{at}

    The articles by Lilford and Pronovost and Hawkes and the accompanying editorial by Black are critical of hospital standardised mortality ratios.1 2 3 They contain a number of misrepresentations. Hospital standardised mortality ratios are not, as Lilford and Pronovost claim,1 a signal about preventable deaths. They simply measure how much a hospital’s overall death rate varies from …

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