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Medical malpractice and outpatient surgical centers

Increasingly, more and more people in Arizona are scheduled for surgeries at outpatient surgery centers, facilities that have become increasingly popular over the last ten years. While most will be able to use such centers without issue, some may be seriously injured or die as a result of complications from surgery, infections and surgical errors occurring.

The recent death of Joan Rivers, who went to an outpatient center for what was thought to be routine surgery, is illustrative. The centers simply do not have the same ability to respond quickly in an emergency situation. Most rely on transport from the center to area hospitals for emergency treatment.

One issue is some patients are not properly screened for the appropriateness of outpatient surgery. Those who are obese or overweight, have an obstructive lung disease or high blood pressure are more prone to having a medical emergency during surgery or as a reaction to anesthesia. A study demonstrated that out of every 1,000 patients, one will have an emergency during outpatient surgery that will necessitate a transfer to a hospital facility.

Outpatient surgery centers do not have the same regulations or controls in place governing the manner in which care is provided. When a person is seriously injured as a result of medical malpractice in a surgery outpatient center, the only recourse may be to file a medical malpractice lawsuit against the physician as well as the center. Through a lawsuit, those who are injured may be able to recover damages to help compensate them for their losses. If the doctor is employed by the surgery center, the center may be vicariously liable for the actions of the doctor that led to the injury. Victims of negligence at outpatient surgery centers may want to speak with a medical malpractice lawyer.

Source: Medpage Today, "Popularity of Outpatient Surgery Centers Leads to Questions About Safety", Sandra G. Boodman, December 18, 2014

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