MAR 13, 2018 8:50 AM PDT

Is Outpatient Surgery Really Safe?


As medical science advances, many conditions and illnesses that once would mean major surgery and lengthy hospitalizations can now be dealt with in smaller "surgicenters" where patients may only stay for the day while they have procedures. There are currently 5,600 surgicenters nationwide. While many are safe, an investigation by USA Today and Kaiser Health Network shows that some of these smaller centers are not up to par. The research showed that there were more than 260 surgery center deaths since 2013, and some of them were after minor procedures that are typically low-risk. Perhaps most famous was comedienne Joan Rivers who died in a surgery center in New York City, while undergoing an endoscopy.

In any surgical procedure, complications can occur. From cardiac events to anesthesia reactions or other problems, the risks are there for even the most basic operations. When procedures are done in the hospital, there is immediate access to lifesaving care. In surgery centers, that isn't always the case. EMTs and ambulances must be summoned if something goes awry in a surgery center and time is precious when the patient is failing fast. The care in most outpatient surgery centers is appropriate, but sometimes the centers take on patients who have complex health issues or are not candidates for day surgery.
About the Author
  • I'm a writer living in the Boston area. My interests include cancer research, cardiology and neuroscience. I want to be part of using the Internet and social media to educate professionals and patients in a collaborative environment.
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