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Malpractice risks at outpatient surgery centers

Ohio individuals who have considered surgery at an outpatient center may wonder about the safety of those types of facilities. Expert opinion differs about how safe they are compared to hospitals. Comedian Joan Rivers died in September 2014 after a center where she was having routine surgery failed on a number of counts including correctly monitoring and responding to her vital signs, but other centers say they take careful steps to ensure the safety of their patients.

One issue is that it is difficult to compare complication rates with hospitals because data is gathered with a focus on specific procedures. Some studies have found a complication rate of less than 1 percent. Proponents of the centers say they are cheaper and more convenient and that patients receive better care at them.

However, in 2010, a study by the CDC in three states found that two-thirds of centers failed to manage infection control properly including not sterilizing instruments correctly, although patients of course also run a risk of developing postoperative infections in hospitals. Ultimately, differing state regulations and requirements for reporting make monitoring outpatient surgery centers difficult. As a result, experts recommend asking questions about complications and how they are managed and observing how the center is run.

Those who feel they have suffered medical malpractice at an outpatient surgery clinic may wish to seek the advice of an attorney who has experience in medical malpractice cases. If there have been complications, that does not necessarily mean that malpractice has occurred, as they may occur despite the best efforts of the heath care practitioner and the facility. However, if it appears that there has been negligence involved, there may be grounds for a lawsuit.

Source: Medpage Today, "Popularity of Outpatient Surgery Centers Leads to Questions About Safety," Sandra G. Boodman, Dec. 18, 2014

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