Outpatient clinics: here to stay, but how safe are they?

Outpatient clinics have become an increasingly popular and relied-upon source of medical treatment for people who do not necessarily need to go to a hospital for treatment, including many kinds of surgeries. The advantages these clinics claim include faster and less expensive treatment than may be available at a hospital, advantages that many patients are finding persuasive. Today there are more than 60 outpatient surgical clinics in Connecticut alone. But as the prevalence of these clinics becomes more widespread, so do incidents of alleged medical malpractice connected them.

The gist of several of these lawsuits is that some outpatient clinics have become too willing to attempt surgical procedures, they lack the properly trained personnel, or the facilities or both to safely perform. One area of concern is the proper administration of anesthesia, which has resulted in at least three claimed deaths in Connecticut in the past two years. The most common mistake made during surgery, according to the Connecticut Department of Health, is perforation injuries. 

Although the number of incidents at outpatient clinics that have led to patient deaths or injuries has increased from only three in 2003 to 20 in 2013, defenders of these facilities defend their safety record, and have noted that the number of the same kinds of incidents at hospitals remains much greater.

For you as a possible surgical patient, the bottom line is that the risk to you of a surgical error remains a real one no matter where you have the surgery performed, be it in a hospital surgery department or at an outpatient clinic. Supporters and detractors of outpatient clinics may continue to argue about their overall safety record and their proper role, but regardless of where it happens an act of medical malpractice resulting from a surgical procedure is one that you will want to have the best available legal representation from a firm experienced with medical malpractice cases to resolve favorably for you.

Source: Newstimes.com, “Suit raises concern about outpatient clinics,” Amanda Cuda, April 20, 2015

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