Infant Surgery Deaths Leads To Calls For Better Regulations

Posted on July 22, 2015 by Shapiro Law Group

Earlier in May, there were reports from national and local media outlets that nine children died in heart surgery at St. Mary’s Medical Center in Florida. Now, doctors and other health care professionals are calling for more oversight into hospitals with high-risk surgery programs.

According to a criticized CNN report, the mortality rate for open-heart surgery at the hospital was 12.5 percent, more than three times the national average. Other numbers put the surgery death rate at 4.58 percent, compared to the state average of 3.97 percent.

Last year in 2014, a team of pediatric cardiologists with the Florida Department of Health told St. Mary’s it could voluntarily upgrade its infant cardiac program to Children’s Medical Services (CMS) standard. The cardiologists also reportedly told the St. Mary’s program that it should stop further surgeries, as it had not performed enough to ensure quality care.

In Florida, CMS is the primary program for overseeing the health care needs of children. CMS standards would have required St. Mary’s to have met a specific volume for infant heart surgeries.

Can New Regulations Prevent Future Surgery Deaths?

The CMS standard would have created experienced surgeons, perhaps less likely to make fatal medical mistakes. The new calls for oversight would require Florida hospitals to meet the CMS safety standard, possibly preventing future surgery deaths. Allegedly, St. Mary’s still treats children for other conditions, but it has not yet adopted the new CMS standards. A Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services investigation into St. Mary’s Hospital is ongoing.

Medical negligence can happen to any hospital patient, young or old. It is especially tragic when the lives of innocent children are cut short by inexperience and negligence.

Shapiro Law GroupTampa Bay Medical Malpractice Attorneys

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