Families with Casualties at a Hospital with High Death Rate Entitled to Investigation

An independent organization that supports patients has reported that families of those patients who died after having undergone vascular surgery in a hospital with high death rate are now entitled to an investigation.

Action against medical Accidents’ chief executive, Peter Walsh made this comment after a recent investigation by Guardian showed that there are wide disparities in the death rates between various hospitals that offer vascular surgery. The data collected by freedom of information requests from 116 trusts is outside public domain.

An abdominal aortic aneurysm surgery performed in England had a mortality rate between 4 and 6% between 2006 and 2008. However, as many as 10 trusts were found to have a death rate higher than 10%. One in specific, Scarborough had 4 deaths in 14 operations, a percentage of 29 which was way above the average. This led the hospital to stop offering the procedure after realizing that the numbers of operations were too infrequent to let the doctors keep the required skills.

Although complaints have to be registered to hospitals within one year, Walsh said that those families which were in some amount of doubt following the death should be offered some flexibility following the recent study reports. A good example of this was provided when many families, came forward against the Bristol babies scandal years after their babies had died, following reports of abnormal death rates. Avma is spearheading a campaign for forcing hospitals to be honest with the patients’ families when the treatments have gone wrong.

Andrew Lansley who is the healthy secretary, wants to see such information coming out in public domain. He has also supported right from his first speech since becoming secretary, more meaningful information to be provided to the patients. The quality of treatment and care will go up if the knowledge about patients’ experiences and standards are made public according to the health secretary.

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