In a paper recently released by the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA), a disturbing pattern was discovered about surgeries and deaths in hospitals across the United States. Researchers found that 80% of all deaths and costs experienced by patients were derived from a list of seven common surgeries.
The researchers with JAMA analyzed 421,476 national database patient records specially comprised of hospital inpatients to arrive at the following conclusions. Another surprising discovery unearthed from this research was not just the deaths and costs associated with these seven emergency procedures, but also the realization that these patients account for 80% of all hospital admissions.
The seven surgeries that the JAMA research uncovered, which account for 80% of all deaths and costs, are:
- Large intestine partial removal
- Small intestine partial removal
- Gallbladder removal
- Surgery to repair stomach or remove ulcer
- Scar tissue removal of the abdomen
- Appendix removal
- Exploration of adnominal region
The surgeries on this list represent those that carry an increased likelihood of death, added expense, and an added level of difficulty to doctors. These seven surgeries are not inherently dangerous or risky, and many of the listed operations, when independently analyzed, were found to have a low rate of complication.
The death and costs are more associated with the emergency aspect of the surgery rather than the type of procedure. Many of the abdominal surgeries on the above list are due to ruptures in the area, which carries addition risks than if the procedure was not being conducted in emergency conditions.
Three million or more Americans will undergo a surgical procedure this year, and the costs associated with surgery have overtaken the costs of treating chronic illnesses like diabetes and heart disease.
Emergency Surgery Opens the Door for Medical Malpractice and Complications
The JAMA study found that half of all the patients admitted to the hospital for an emergency surgery would likely experience complications. The report examined four years of patient data, which concluded that general emergency operations account for 11 percent of all surgeries – and 50% of all surgical deaths.
The JAMA researchers conducted this large-scale study by examining 420,000 operations conducted between 2008 and 2011. The reviewed included an analysis of 35 of the primary types of emergency surgery. To form a balanced comparison, it’s important to compare the seven costliest and deadliest surgeries to the entire group of emergency procedures. In this comparison, they found the average fatality rate for all types of emergency surgery was only 1.2% with a complication percentage rate of 15%. Of those emergency patients, 15% will be readmitted to the hospital within 30 days of their original operation. Thus, this study suggests that it’s the emergent nature of these surgeries that causes the majority of fatalities and costly complications.
When the data is isolated to highlight specific surgical categories and types, a better comparison between this list of seven deadly surgeries and other surgical procedures becomes clearer. An appendix removal is listed in the list of seven, yet it has a low mortality rate of less than 0.1 percent, but because of the difficulty of the surgery, it’s expensive. The majority of the patients who experienced the bulk of adverse reactions after one of the seven surgeries in the study were in poor general health before the operation. The study found that emergency surgeries were needed by the sickest patients with a higher risk for complication. These patients who undergo emergency surgery are eight times more likely to die than those who planned the surgery in advance.
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The data from this study suggests that it’s the combination of emergency surgery and the most unwell patients that combine to make these surgeries the most dangerous. Emergencies propagate accidents and medical malpractice situations. If you think a member of your family has been the victim of medical malpractice and negligence, then you should contact the medical malpractice attorneys at Law Office of Cohen & Jaffe, LLP in Long Island, New York, to discuss the legal support and solutions we can provide in your medical malpractice suit.