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Surgical Complications and Mortality Rates

Posted Dec 16 2009 7:16am 4 Comments
Mortality during surgery is dependent on two factors.  The first is the probability of having complications during surgery.  The second is the probability of dying conditional on having a complication.  One would expect that hospitals with low mortality rates would have both fewer complications and lower probability of death conditional on a complication.  

A paper by Gheferi, Birkmeyer, and Dimick (NEJM 2009) shows that this may not be the case.  After risk adjustment complication rates were not significantly higher in high mortality hospitals.  However, conditional on there being a complication, mortality rates were much higher in high mortality hospitals than low mortality hospitals.  


In Hospital Mortality (Gheferi et al. NEJM 2009)

How can doctors decrease mortality due to complications?  Gheferi, Birkmeyer, and Dimick recommend “timely administration of antibiotics in patients with sepsis, the rapid transfer of a patient to an intensive care unit (ICU), and the availability of interventional cardiologists during an acute myocardial infarction.”

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Surgical complications can happen in the easiest or most intricate operations and frequently are resolved to the satisfaction of everyone involved. However, when a doctor is tired or paying insufficient attention to his responsibilities, avoidable surgical complications may occur which lead to prolonged suffering for the patient and future health issues. You will be able to consult with a solicitor who has experience in dealing with medical negligence compensation claims due to surgical complications and solicitors who have seen these types of cases before will know exactly what the consequences are and how they can be applied to your circumstances. For More Info Visit:

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