Every year, hundreds of thousands of patients undergo surgery at one of the nation’s rapidly proliferating surgical centers (estimated to be somewhere between 5,600 to 7,000). In fact, these centers now surpass the number of hospitals, as U.S. regulators trying to lower health costs are green-lighting an expanding number of outpatient procedures. However, according to a new in-depth report from Kaiser Health News and USA Today, these centers are too often are ill-equipped to handle emergency complications. As a result, hundreds of patients have died as a result of “routine” surgeries, such as tonsillectomies and colonscopies.
No knows exactly how many deaths, illnesses and injuries happen at these centers because no one is required to keep track.
Although any surgery carries a risk and some centers boast top-of-the-line medical equipment and well-trained staffers, journalists uncovered dozens of cases where a lack of training or basic equipment found at most hospitals made a difference in patient outcomes. Continue reading