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About 1 in 10 patients suffers postoperative complications

According to the Journal of the American College of Surgeons, approximately ten percent of patients develop postoperative complications following surgery. The study showed that as many as 11.3 percent of surgical patients were admitted back to the hospital within 30 days after surgery.

Though there are a number of factors into why patients would be readmitted besides surgical errors, postoperative complications such as surgical infections or malnutrition due to the surgery turned out to be the major cause for readmission. Patients that received surgical procedures such as a pancreatectomy, colectomy and liver resection were some of the most common individual to be readmitted.

Unfortunately, the complications often occurred while the patient was at home rather than still in the hospital. Such complications also have led to significantly longer stays in the hospital.

The study does suggest that hospitals should concentrate on reducing postoperative complications. This of course is more easily said than done. Yet it's anticipated that hospitals with high admission rates will be penalized in one form or another in the future.

For Pennsylvania patients, the prospect of readmission so soon after surgery would have to be disconcerting. Though not even the greatest area of concern, readmissions will lead to more medical expenses and wage loss. If the readmission does come about because of hospital negligence or surgical error, attorneys that work in the area of medical malpractice can help patients recover these costs.

With advances in medical technology, we should be seeing a great reduction in postoperative complications rather than such a high level as has been reported in this study. Doctors and hospitals need to keep striving for improvement.

Source: Fierce Healthcare, "Surgical patients bounce back with post-op complications," by Karen M. Cheung, August 29, 2012

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