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Friday, June 19, 2015
St. Mary's Hospital: Children's Deaths from Open Heart Surgeries at St. Mary's Hospital in West Palm Beach Prompt Federal Investigation
A West Palm Beach, Florida hospital, St. Mary’s Medical Center, is the subject of an investigation from The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services, as the hospital reportedly has one of the highest rates of death from open heart surgeries on children. Between the years 2011 and 2013, the mortality rate had risen as high as 12.5% among surgery recipients, according to reports.
CNN managed to obtain the data that the hospital is required to report to the state in order to calculate the 12.5% mortality rate.. This means that the death rate is nearly three times higher than the national average in hospitals around the country who perform heart surgery on infants and children. There is large concern among parents who have lost their children, as well as federal authorities, that the facility may be neglecting the basics of care, especially with regard to their Medicaid and Medicare patients.
The majority of patients who underwent open heart surgery at St. Mary’s Hospital were Medicaid patients. St. Mary’s Medical Center’s parent company, Tenet Healthcare, has declined to comment further on the claims that have been made about its program which opened in December 2011. This raises concerns over whether or not the hospital has been withholding its facts and figures.
CNN discovered after reviewing the information the hospital supplied to the State of Florida that 12.5% of the babies who underwent heart surgery since the progam’s beginning died. Heart surgery is often necessary to correct congenital heart defects. In centers which perform the highest number of surgeries to correct these defects, he mortality rate is very low regardless of the difficulty of the surgery.
According to physicians hired by the State of Florida to look into its program, St. Mary’s did not perform enough surgeries each year to become proficient. In fact, they did not perform even two surgeries per month over the life of the program. In fact, these investigators determined that St. Mary’s needed to stop all surgeries on infants immediately. St. Mary’s ignored the recommendations in this report and continued to operate on babies some of whom were injured or died.