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Surgical site infections remain a risk in outpatient surgery

When patients undergo outpatient surgery, they are often comforted by the idea that outpatient surgery can be far safer and more routine than complex procedures requiring a hospital stay. However, all surgical procedures carry some risk of complications. In addition hospital errors, inadequate hygiene procedures and other factors can lead individuals who have come through outpatient surgery to suffer surgical site infections.

According to a study recently published in the Journal of the American Medical Association, it is relatively rare for patients undergoing outpatient surgery to develop surgical site infections. If fact, of the more than 284,000 cases analyzed by the study’s researchers, less than 0.5 percent of all patients developed surgical site infections deemed to be clinically significant. However, of those patients who did develop surgical site infections, most had to be hospitalized for treatment as a result.

It is therefore important for patients to understand that outpatient surgery is generally safe in terms of surgical site infection risk. However, the consequences of surgical site infections tend to be significant for those who do contract them.

Hospital-acquired infections kill a staggering number of Americans on an annual basis. While attorneys can help victims of surgical infection and their families hold any negligent parties accountable for the harm they have suffered, it is critical that the healthcare system focuses on eliminating these infections in the first place. When even patients undergoing outpatient surgery risk potentially deadly infections, certain safety-related mechanisms within the system as a whole must be critically reexamined.

Source: Modern Healthcare, “Surgical site infections after outpatient surgery rare, but still a risk, study finds,” Sabriya Rice, Feb. 21, 2014

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