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Mortality Rates Amongst Newborns Post-Surgery Raise Questions About Hospital Practices

By: Cohen, Placitella & Roth @ Aug 7, 2017

Newborns are very delicate, and when they have health complications at the time of their birth, their treatment must be approached with extreme levels of care. Unfortunately, treatment is often very complicated and difficult, and does not always end well.

Data published for five hospitals in Pennsylvania show that the number of infant deaths following newborn heart surgery is surprisingly high, with the rate at some hospitals being well above the national average.

Some Pennsylvania Hospitals Have High Infant Mortality Rates after Heart Surgery

There is no doubt that a heart surgery is a very delicate and complex procedure, and in some cases, newborn death following a heart surgery is unavoidable. But the rates of infant mortality within 30 days of heart surgery at a few hospitals in Pennsylvania were extremely high.

At St. Christopher’s Hospital for Children, which is located in north Philadelphia, the rate of newborn death within a month after heart surgery was 20 percent between 2012-2015 (the national average during the same time period was 8.9 percent). The hospital with the next greatest rate of infant mortalities was Alfred I. duPont Hospital for Children, with a rate of 9.4 percent.

While these numbers may seem shocking, an article in Philly.com explains that based on the risks of newborn heart surgeries, these rates are considered to be in the “acceptable range.”

St. Christopher’s Under Review

Not only did St. Christopher’s report the highest rate of infant mortality, but the hospital also voluntarily stopped performing all nonemergency heart procedures in January 2016, as the hospital was in the process of an internal review. The review was based on the fact that the hospital had failed to investigate the deaths of nine patients, all of whom had died post-heart surgery, and that its rate of infant mortality rate post-newborn heart surgery reached as high as 24 percent between 2009 and 2014. The causes of mortality, and whether or not medical malpractice was involved, were not discussed.

Now, after more than a year has elapsed, the hospital is resuming newborn heart surgeries. In order to reduce the number of newborn deaths, a number of steps have been taken to improve patient safety. For example, patients will receive care after their surgeries in a brand new, state-of-the-art critical care facility that was recently finished.

Your Right to The Best Care

Whether talking about you or your newborn child, your family deserves the highest quality care when a health crisis requires medical intervention. While doctors may refer to patient deaths as within the acceptable range, our lawyers reject this sentiment when medical errors and medical negligence lead to harm.

If you or your loved one has been injured due to the actions of a healthcare professional, and you think malpractice was involved, contact our law offices today. You can reach our Philadelphia medical malpractice lawyers online or by phone to schedule your free consultation and learn more now.

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