Joan Rivers’ tragic and untimely death has exposed a spate of post-operation fatalities. Ms. Rivers died after being treated at a Manhattan ambulatory surgery center. Fatalities after surgery performed in doctors’ offices are alarming, but not an aberration. Such post-op deaths have become so common that New York state health officials were on guard and already tracking these adverse medical incidents long before Ms. Rivers’ death.
The Statistics Are Shocking
Office based surgeries are governed by New York laws. In order for a facility to perform such surgeries, they need to become accredited through a written application and interview process by three accrediting agencies. One of the many regulations these facilities must abide by is to report any office-based surgery adverse event to the New York State Department of Health. Despite this mandated obligation, many adverse events go unreported.
Statistics show that approximately 1,000 New York medical practices are accredited by professional groups to perform office-based surgeries. 2,202 adverse events occurred at these facilities between 2010 and 2013, of which 257 resulted in deaths. Had these adverse events occurred in a hospital setting, a SWAT-team like response may have saved the victim.
The Need For Change
Both doctors and patients prefer office-based surgeries for many reasons. The procedures performed in ambulatory care settings are cheaper. Additionally, patients also prefer treatment in non-hospital settings because it can minimize their exposure to potentially deadly hospital-based infections. Preference for outpatient surgeries has led to a 55 percent increase in the accreditation of office-based surgery practices in New York between 2011 and 2013.
However, the advantages are also accompanied by dangers. The lack of emergency care necessary during adverse complications can mean increased danger for the patient. The need for change has become a top priority for New York health officials. One way to provide patients with safer office-based surgeries is to make these facilities abide by stricter regulations.
If you or a loved one has suffered a complication or death resulting from a surgery performed at a surgery facility, you should consult an experienced New York medical malpractice attorney to protect your legal rights.
For additional information about your legal options or to schedule a complimentary consultation, please call Gersowitz Libo & Korek, P.C. at 1-800-529-9997.