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Post-surgery infections are a wild card at outpatient facilities


Posted on behalf of Michael D'Amico of D'Amico & Pettinicchi, LLC on Jun 07, 2014 in Surgical Errors

The health care industry has changed over the last several decades in so many ways. Beyond expanded capabilities in medical diagnosis and treatment, the types of facilities offering care have also changed.

According to a report from Scientific American, outpatient surgical centers have exploded in popularity throughout the country since the 1970s. Rather than being admitted to a hospital for an operation, patients can opt to be treated in an ambulatory medical center for certain types of surgical procedures. A short time after the operation is completed, patients are allowed to go home and begin the recovery process.

The recovery period after surgery is absolutely critical. During this time, patients can develop infections that arise for any number of reasons. Hospitals are required to record and track post-surgery infection rates, according to Scientific American, but the outpatient facilities are not subject to the same mandate. Of course, these facilities face regulations for patient safety, but a lack of data regarding infections can make improving the problem very difficult.

Failure to maintain sterile surgical techniques or follow certain surgical best practices could cause an infection to develop in the days or weeks after a surgical procedure. Of course, this type of surgical error can create additional health problems for someone who is simply trying to recover.

Reports suggest that outpatient surgical procedures will continue to build in popularity, especially as less invasive techniques are honed. Keeping this in mind, patients may unfortunately need to be on the lookout for preventable infections. Although this is a concern after receiving care in any type of facility, there are more questions surrounding outpatient care because reliable data doesn't exist to measure how common post-procedure infections are.

Source: Scientific American, "Under the Knife: Where Infections Fly under the Radar," Dina Fine Maron, May 19, 2014