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The Hidden Risks of Our Nation’s Booming Surgery Centers

Published on Jul 2, 2019 at 11:25 am in Medical Malpractice.

When people need to have a surgical procedure, they’ll likely think they need to have it at the hospital. Then, they’ll probably need to stay there until they’re cleared to go home. This isn’t always the case. Now, people can have procedures at a surgery center and possibly be home within hours after the procedure is done. While this seems like a solution to giving patients the surgeries they need and allowing them to get back home as soon as possible, there are many risks involved with these establishments.

What Can Go Wrong at a Surgery Center?

The first and most important aspect to know about surgery centers is that they’re not hospitals. We’ll get into some of the differences later. What you should know is that there have been reported cases when surgery centers have needed to call 911 to get a patient to a hospital where they can receive the care they need. In some situations, by the time the patient arrived at the hospital, it was too late.

The statistics are hard to track because there isn’t a national, authoritative organization keeping a record of the information on deaths and mistakes that happen at surgery centers. However, there are some statistics that have been found because of intense investigations. Kaiser Health news and USA TODAY Network found that since 2013, over 260 patients have died after their procedure at a surgery center. The operations were common ones that no one expects to result in fatality.

How Are Surgery Centers Different from Hospitals?

Surgery centers have saved insurers a lot of money because the centers don’t have to have the staffing of a hospital or the life-saving equipment that a hospital must have. However, that’s exactly what leads to dire situations when something goes wrong. If someone needs oxygen or some specific kind of equipment, a hospital would have it and a professional would be able to get to the patient within minutes. An outpatient surgery center may not have the necessary trained staff or the equipment that the patient needs, which often results in tragic consequences.

Hospitals have strict patient safety standards. There are protocols for how things are done to keep the patients safe from problems like spread of infection, falling, or making sure they get the post-surgical care they need and then they can be cleared to go home.

There aren’t universal standards for surgery centers. In the above-mentioned report, families of loved ones came forward stating instances where a family member had a surgical procedure and were told they were ready to go home, only to suffer from complications once they got home– or even during the ride home. In one case, a family member got home only to find their loved one had passed away in the backseat while they were presumed to have fallen asleep.

There’s also the relationship between doctors and surgery centers. It’s legal for doctors to refer their patients to surgery centers that they own. This could lead to a rise in unnecessary surgeries and risker procedures that should be performed in a hospital.

While some argue that it’s good for physicians to own the center and that it works as an incentive to make sure their patients receive the best care from the moment they walk in to when they walk out, it’s impossible to dismiss the fact that there’s also a monetary incentive to put patients in the center. There have also been cases of centers taking on difficult procedures, but they’re also lucrative, which again brings into question what the center cares about more—their patients or profits?

Get Representation from Thomas Law Offices

When a medical facility acts negligently, they need to be held accountable for their actions no matter what. Surgery centers that are causing harm to patients should have to answer for what they’ve done and make severe changes to make sure this doesn’t happen again.

Our attorneys will be at your side every step of the way. A botched surgery can completely change your life. You may have chronic health problems, many medical expenses, and this will likely keep you from working for a while. A fair settlement can help alleviate your financial worries that the surgery center has caused you. Get in touch with us today so we can get to work on your case as soon as possible.

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Tad Thomas - Trial Lawyer

Tad Thomas

Managing Partner

Tad Thomas has dedicated his practice to representing plaintiffs in various types of civil litigation, including personal injury, business litigation, class actions, and multi-district litigation.

After graduating with his law degree in 2000 from Salmon P. Chase College of Law at Northern Kentucky University, Mr. Thomas immediately opened his own private practice and began representing injury victims.

In 2011, Thomas Law Offices was established in Louisville, Kentucky. Over the past decade, Mr. Thomas has expanded his firm and now has offices in three additional locations: Cincinnati, Ohio, Columbia, Missouri, and Chicago, Illinois. He is also a frequent lecturer on topics like trial skills and ethics and technology.

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