On the surface, freestanding same-day surgical centers seem to be a more affordable and convenient alternative to hospitals for routine procedures. Cataract surgeries, colonoscopies, cosmetic procedures, and pain injections are common surgery center procedures.
Many doctors refer their patients to surgery centers because they offer easy scheduling and higher reimbursements from Medicare and insurance companies. But the differences between same-day surgery centers and traditional hospital systems may actually put patients at risk of serious health complications and even death.
In New Jersey, there are 298 same-day surgery centers currently in operation. Because of gaps in reporting policies for these facilities, it is hard to know just how safe they really are. One thing many medical experts will agree on – when something goes wrong in a surgery center, it has the potential to be catastrophic. Without the support system of a fully-equipped hospital and its staff, a minor issue for a patient in a surgery center can have dire consequences.
Limited Safety Data Available for Surgery Centers in New Jersey
Patients curious about safety at surgery centers have to do a lot of research to get their answers. Between September 2008 and September 2017, more than 1,200 “events” occurred at New Jersey surgery centers. Events are considered serious preventable injuries or fatalities. Beyond that number, not much more information is available about surgical mistakes at the centers.
Because of a technicality in New Jersey law, surgery centers with only one operating room are not required to report their safety data to the state. Until January 2018, one-room surgery centers were not licensed by the New Jersey Department of Health and thus not required to report their patient safety data to the state. Many families of loved ones who became seriously ill or passed away after routine procedures would have taken their loved ones elsewhere if they had known these centers were not held to the same safety standards as larger facilities.
After researching the surgery center industry and interviewing patients and their loved ones, media outlets The Record and NorthJersey.com found four major problems with same-day surgery centers. Evidence was provided to show that they lack sufficient resources for handling emergencies, accept patients who are not good candidates for same day surgery, do not vet their doctors as thoroughly as hospitals do, and are not transparent about their safety records.
Surgical center advocates say patients are less at risk for infection and insist that patient satisfaction is high, based on industry surveys. One thing is clear – every patient should do their own due diligence when choosing a doctor and a facility for any surgical procedure.
South Jersey Medical Malpractice Lawyers at Folkman Law Offices, P.C. Fight for Patients Injured by Surgical Errors
If you or a loved one has been injured due to a surgical error or doctor’s negligence, the South Jersey medical malpractice lawyers at Folkman Law Offices, P.C. are here to help. Our skilled attorneys will review your case and determine if you have grounds for a medical malpractice lawsuit and if so, the best legal course of action for you. To discuss your case with a South Jersey medical malpractice lawyer, call 856-354-9444 or contact us online today. Our offices are conveniently located in Cherry Hill, New Jersey, Philadelphia, and King of Prussia, Pennsylvania to serve individuals and families throughout South Jersey and the greater Philadelphia area.