As Outpatient Surgery Centers Become More Popular, are Patients at Increased Risk of Complications?
The rise in outpatient surgical centers has resulted in greater access to medical treatment for individuals requiring minor procedures. Procedures that once required a lengthy and expensive hospital stay can now be accomplished in as little as a day in an outpatient center. In fact, more than half of all operations performed in the United States now occur in outpatient centers.
Recent progresses in medical technology and changes to surgical procedures have made it much safer to conduct surgical procedures outside of a hospital environment. This has led to the creation of private practice outpatient centers, which are often able to serve patients more quickly and without the hassle of a hospital environment.
They may be convenient, but are surgical centers safe?
Many organizations believe that hospitals offer superior surgical conditions, and are able to perform operations much more safely than outpatient centers. Some have gone as far as saying that surgical centers are not safe places to undergo even minor surgical procedures.
The concerns over surgical center safety increased after the high-profile and tragic case of comedienne Joan Rivers. Rivers died after suffering brain surgery during a routine throat procedure at an outpatient medical center. After complications arose during the procedure, Rivers was rushed to the hospital, where she was treated for several days before succumbing to her injuries. Had Rivers been in a hospital center during the procedure, the likelihood of her survival would have been greatly increased.
Rivers’ case is not as common as the media might make it seem to be, however. Many surgical centers maintain impeccable track records of providing quality treatment to patients.
Reduced regulatory obligations
Outpatient medical centers face far less scrutiny than hospitals. State and federal laws that apply to hospitals may not apply to outpatient centers. This means that regulation of outpatient centers is far less stringent.
The reduced regulation may lead some outpatient centers to cut corners to reduce overhead, which may put patients at unnecessary risk of infection or complications during surgery.
Make surgical choices carefully
If you require a surgical procedure, no matter how minor, it is important to make informed decisions on the location of the operation and the medical professionals who will perform the surgery. Consider the track record of the hospital or surgical center when making your choice; surgical statistics can be obtained with little effort.
Weigh the pros and cons of each facility before making your choice. It may be helpful to seek references from past patients to gain insight into their experiences and any issues they encountered during or after treatment.
If you or a loved one have been injured at a surgical center, call the personal injury law firm of Mallon & McCool immediately. Our Baltimore injury attorneys can be reached at (410) 727-7887, toll free at (800) 918-8872 or contact us online to schedule a free consultation to discuss your case.