7 On Your Side: Consumer Reports looks at knee replacements, rates Bay Area hospitals

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Millions of Americans are living with hip and knee replacements. 7 On Your Side partnered up with Consumer Reports for this report on knee replacements and ratings at Bay Area hospitals. (KGO-TV)

Millions of Americans are living with hip and knee replacements. 7 On Your Side partnered up with Consumer Reports for this report on knee replacements and ratings at Bay Area hospitals.

Replacement surgery can be a good option for some, but it is not without risk. Consumer Reports has advice to help you improve the odds of a successful outcome.

After suffering from debilitating pain for years, Juan Alonso had his knee replaced. Then, he suffered terrible complications.

"I was in so much pain," he said. "And the swelling in the leg kept just swelling up more and more."

He sought help from another doctor, who replaced his knee for a second time.

"We had to remove his knee replacement completely, sterilize the area, and then go back in and put a new knee replacement in after three or so months," Somers Orthopedic Surgery's Dr. Joel Buchalter said.

Consumer Reports took a close look at hospitals in the Bay Area to see how well patients did following replacement surgery.

"We looked at hospitals' infection rates, complication rates, and readmission rates and found it really matters which hospital you go to," Consumer Reports' Doris Peter said.

For example, St. Mary's Medical Center in San Francisco had zero infections for knee surgery, while St. Rose Hospital in Hayward was one of the hospitals that got Consumer Reports' bottom rating - 53 percent worse than the national average.

Consumer Reports and the California Department of Insurance have created an online tool to help you check out hospitals. Just enter San Francisco and you'll see ratings on a scale of one to five.

"It lets you determine the higher performers compared to the lower performers," Peter said.

You can find the tool here.

St. Rose Hospital told 7 On Your Side, "It strictly adheres to CDC guidelines in the prevention of surgical site infections. Our 2014 data shows that our overall rate for surgical site infections is well below the expected national baseline. St. Rose Hospital consistently strives to improve patient care, as every patient is important for us in the quality of care we provide."

Californiahealthcare.org has other helpful information, like hospital ratings for childbirth, cancer screenings and treating diabetes.
Consumer Reports is published by Consumers Union. Both Consumer Reports and Consumers Union are not-for-profit organizations that accept no advertising. Neither has any commercial relationship with any advertiser or sponsor on this site.

(All Consumer Reports Material Copyright 2014. Consumers Union of U.S. Inc. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.)
Related Topics:
health7 On Your Sideconsumer reportsconsumer concernsconsumerhospitalbay areahospitalssurgeryhealth careSan FranciscoHayward
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