With a nod from federal regulators hoping to reduce costs, surgery centers are popping up across the nation offering a low cost alternative for minor surgeries and an every widening array of outpatient procedures. Unfortunately, as surgical centers have expanded their businesses, taking on increasingly risky procedures, some patients are paying the price in injuries and fatalities. In fact, every year, thousands of calls are made to 911 from surgery centers that are not equipped or staffed to deal with complications and hundreds of patients have died after routine procedures such as colonoscopies and tonsillectomies.
An investigation by Kaiser Health News and USA Today reveals that:
- Surgery centers have steadily expanded their services to include risky surgeries such complex spinal operations, which have resulted in at least 14 deaths
- Federal law allows surgery center doctors to steer patients to facilities they own
- Although surgery centers are required to line up a local hospitals for emergencies, the distance and time between a center and an ER can be too great for patients in distress
- Some surgery centers have come under fire for overlooking high risk health problems before treating patients; at least 25 people with underlying medical conditions such as high blood pressure died within minutes or days of treatment at surgery centers
- While some centers have a well trained staff and state of the art equipment, others skimp on training or lifesaving equipment to the detriment of patients’ lives
While some contend that surgery centers injuries and fatalities have nothing to do with the care provided, others think surgery centers and physicians are pushing the envelope on how much can be done at outpatient centers. For those seeking treatment, the takeaway is that “it’s important to realize that surgery centers are not hospitals…they have different resources, different equipment.”
If you or a family member has suffered surgical center injuries, contact the Davenport medical malpractice attorneys of McDonald, Woodward & Carlson PC for immediate assistance today at 563-355-6478.