Report Allows Patients To Look Up Surgeon Records

Posted on July 27, 2015 by Shapiro Law Group

When undergoing complex surgical procedures, it is important patients select the right doctor. A report by ProPublica has found that 11 percent of surgeons account for 25 percent of complications during surgery, suggesting patients might not always be as safe as they believe. Many surgeons with poor safety records had complication rates two to three times higher than the national average.

To gather information for its report, ProPublica used national Medicare data and compiled the complication rates for 17,000 surgeons across the nation. Many of the medical procedures examined in the study were knee replacements and gallbladder removals between the years 2009 and 2013.

Patients will have access to the data to help them pick surgeons with good records, and doctors will be able to compare their scores to that of their colleagues.

How Often Are Patients Harmed By Surgery Mistakes?

Data from the report found complication rates among surgeons at some of the most renowned hospitals in the country. The ProPublica report mentions an example of a doctor at Johns Hopkins Hospital in Baltimore who had complication records several times that of his colleagues. This hospital has the reputation of being one of the top health care research institutions in the country.

Medical errors and surgical mistakes are responsible for more than 200,000 deaths every year nationwide. Patients are injured or killed during “never events”, a term used to describe mistakes that should not happen. For example, a surgeon may operate on the wrong part of the body, or leave a surgical sponge behind in a patient.

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