LOW VOLUME HOSPITALS PROVE MORE DANGEROUS
Some may think choosing a hospital is an easy task. Many people choose the closest hospital to their home or continue to receive treatment from a facility because, “that’s where I’ve always gone!”
Unfortunately, studies show that not all hospitals are created equal.
U.S. News and World Report performed a study on “inexperience” in hospitals and what it means to receive treatment from a facility with fewer doctors, patients, and surgeries performed.
How Many Surgeries Has Your Hospital Performed?
The study by U.S. News and World Report compares the mortality rate of different surgical procedures based on the number of cases performed at hospitals of different volumes.
One of the most staggering figures (see figure on right) deals with the mortality rate of knee replacement surgeries. In hospitals with “Very Low” volume, where an average of 12 knee replacement surgeries were performed a year, the mortality rate was increased by 106%. That means that, overall, patients that underwent knee replacement surgery in the “Very Low” volume centers were nearly 70 percent more likely to die than patients that attended higher volume hospitals.
Similar results were seen in treatments involving hip replacement surgeries and congestive heart failure.
Most patients don’t think to ask how many surgeries their hospital or doctor has performed, trusting that they are with experienced medical professionals and are in good hands.
Know the Facts
When interviewed, most doctors reported that their patients would rather attend a local doctor or treatment center rather than drive to an unfamiliar area with a larger, “more established” reputation. However, this mindset can cause many patients to undergo surgeries in facilities with limited experience, causing complications, infections, or even death.
Dr. Steven Nissen, the chief of cardiology at the Cleveland Clinic, explains, “If you’re in a local institution with limited experience and things go wrong, there’s no going back.”
Lower volume hospitals will not advertise the fact that they have not performed different surgeries in large quantities so it’s important to ask and get the correct statistics.
Driving an extra 30 minutes just might save your life.
Some examples of questions to ask your medical provider before a surgery are:
- How many times have you performed this specific surgery?
- What is your success rate for this specific surgery?
- Are there alternative operations or treatment options for my condition?
- What is the follow-up care like after my surgery?
- What will my medical team consist of? (Nurses, doctors, surgeons, etc.)
Medical errors are the third-leading cause of death in America. Although a poor outcome or complication during surgery does not necessarily mean that it was a result of malpractice, it’s important to contact a lawyer to review your case and fight for justice if negligence did occur.
If you or a loved one has experienced any form of medical malpractice including physician negligence, medication and prescription errors, surgical errors, and more, fill out a contact form today and we’ll give you a free consultation.