When parents choose a medical center to care for their labor and delivery needs, they also expect that the hospital will be capable of adequately handling any complications that may arise with the newborn. Reputation and track record go a long way in demonstrating whether your health care providers are truly fit to manage your birthing procedure, as well as your new bundle of joy. The poor track record of one Florida hospital attracted the attention of the federal government and their investigation may lead to a significant amount of financial liability.
An article on CNN.com is reporting about a West Palm Beach medical center that routinely performs open heart surgeries on infants and babies.
Since starting their program in 2011, the hospital has reported nine deaths and one paralysis of treated babies. These numbers allegedly amount to a 12.5% mortality rate, which reportedly triples the national average. Following initial concerns, a review panel reportedly recommended suspension of the program. Hospital administrators ignored these suggestions and continued to perform the open heart surgeries, which led to additional deaths. As explained in the article, most of the babies were insured by Medicaid, which led to the federal investigation.
A Lack of Transparency
Many parents diligently work to research the hospitals in their area in order to make an informed decision. You look at websites, read reviews and try to find unbiased professional data. While the hospital website will show you nice rooms, educated doctors and philanthropic accomplishments, it will not tell you how many babies died after receiving treatment there. A CNN investigation revealed that most of the hospitals currently performing pediatric heart surgeries do not disclose their mortality rates. Out of 107 facilities, the rate of death reportedly ranges from 1.4% to 12.1%.
The investigation reportedly spawned from an initiative by the Society of Thoracic Surgeons. The organization asked pediatric heart hospitals to voluntarily provide yearly mortality rates. As reported in the article, less than a third initially agreed.
Dr. Martin Makary is a professor of surgery at Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine. He is quoted in the article as stating, “I feel like patients don’t know what every physician knows: that there’s a tremendous variation in the quality of medical care out there… Some surgeons have impeccable records, and some have patterns of complications that are outrageous.”
Protecting Your Child
Though this investigation centered on open heart surgery, the underlying message extends to all variations of neonatal care. As an expecting parent, continue doing your homework. Don’t feel afraid to ask doctors and hospital staffs the tough questions. But if these professionals are unwilling to give straight answers, take that as a possible red flag. Your baby depends on you to advocate for her and when treatment goes wrong, you should depend on an experienced attorney to advocate for your family.
If you or your newborn was injured, due to the negligence of a doctor or hospital staff, contact the experienced birth injury attorneys of Levin & Perconti today at (877) 374-1417 for a free consultation.
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