In an effort to provide a lower cost alternative to having a surgical procedure performed in a hospital, federal regulators have approved a growing number of procedures to be performed at surgery centers across the country. This trend has been so successful that, since the first facility opened nearly 50 years ago, there are more surgery centers today than there are hospitals. Unfortunately, many of the centers are not equipped to handle complex surgical cases, surgical errors, or unexpected complications that can occur during or after a surgical procedure. This has resulted in an alarming number of fatalities, many of which could have been prevented by prioritizing patient safety over saving money and boosting profits.
According to results of an investigation by Kaiser Health News and USA TODAY Network, over 260 patients were fatally injured over the past five years after undergoing a surgical procedure at one of the surgery centers across the country. Many of these fatalities occurred after routine operations such as colonoscopies and tonsillectomies.
Surgical Center Investigation Results
After thoroughly examining autopsy reports and interviewing doctors, health policy experts, and patients, the investigation found the following:
To expand business, surgery centers have been performing increasingly risky procedures. If doctors own a share of the center, they can make a significant amount of money, particularly for a procedure that costs upwards of $100,000. Unfortunately, there is also an increased risk of serious, even fatal complications.
The centers often notify local hospitals so that they are prepared in the event of an emergency. However, if the center is located in a rural area, it can take 30 minutes or more to transport the patient to the hospital. Oftentimes, a patient may not survive the trip.
The investigation found that some surgery centers choose to treat high-risk patients rather than referring them to a hospital that is better equipped to treat the patient and handle any complications that may arise.
Some surgery centers chose to save money rather than invest in life saving training programs or equipment. Moreover, investigators found that other facilities released patients before they were fully recovered.
Even spinal surgeries are being performed more regularly at surgery centers, despite the fact that this type of surgery involves extremely delicate work near the spinal cord, windpipe, and esophagus.
Most surgery centers in the United States offer state-of-the-art equipment and highly trained staff that can handle an emergency. However, investigators found over 12 cases where the lack of training and life-saving emergency equipment has cost patients their lives. When reporters reached out for a statement from administrators about what went wrong, they would not comment. Instead, they argued that fatalities are a known complication to those surgeries.
Baltimore Medical Malpractice Lawyers at LeViness, Tolzman & Hamilton Represent Victims of Surgery Center Errors
If you or a loved one was treated at a surgery center resulting in an injury, do not hesitate to contact the Baltimore medical malpractice lawyers at LeViness, Tolzman & Hamilton. We will thoroughly investigate your case and determine whether the healthcare provider responsible for your care was negligent in any way. Our dedicated and experienced team will seek the maximum financial compensation you deserve and ensure that the negligent parties are held liable. To schedule a free, confidential consultation, call us today at 800-547-4LAW (4529) or contact us online.
Our offices are located in Baltimore, Columbia, Glen Burnie, and Towson, allowing us to represent medical malpractice victims in Maryland, including those in Anne Arundel County, Baltimore County, Carroll County, Harford County, Howard County, Montgomery County, Maryland’s Western Counties, Prince George’s County, Queen Anne’s County, Southern Maryland, and the Eastern Shore, as well as the communities of Catonsville, Essex, Halethorpe, Middle River, Rosedale, Gwynn Oak, Brooklandville, Dundalk, Pikesville, Nottingham, Windsor Mill, Lutherville, Timonium, Sparrows Point, Ridgewood, and Elkridge.