St. Mary’s Medical Center, Florida is once more under fire for the 9th recorded baby death during heart surgery.
St. Mary’s Medical Center is one of the centers across the U.S. where cardiac surgery is performed on infants that had life threatening cardiovascular problems. In the second half of 2011, the Center opened its doors for a specially targeted program.
The baby who passed away on Tuesday was called Davi Ricardo Brandao. He was a few weeks old the first time he had heart surgery in March. His condition was called truncus arteriosus, according to Pautilia Gomes, Davi’s mother. She said her son would have needed another surgery later during the month.
The issues started appearing when babies who had sustained surgery here started dying. From 2011 to 2013, a CNN analysis places the mortality rate in the case of open heart surgeries at 12.5 percent. This percentage alone represent three times the national average.
Comebacks from St. Mary’s Medical Center officials call the CNN investigation biased and in search of the gruesomely sensational. Adding at the same time that the patients they are dedicated to do suffer from life-threatening conditions. Under these circumstances, the mortality risk cannot be eliminated, no matter how hard one tries. And no promises are made.
Parents of those babies whose lives were saved are siding with the St. Mary’s Medical Center. The other camp is still abated by the happenings. Nneka Campbell who saw her daughter die after heart surgery performed in the St. Mary’s Medical Center, asked in a fit of despair:
“Why won’t they stop?”
However, the same the latest of the nine infants died, the CEO of St. Mary’s Medical Center, Mr. Davide Carbone wrote a letter of support to the staff of the center, to the program and especially to the director of the program, Dr. Michael Bank.
St. Mary’s Medical Center is owned by Tenet Healthcare. Officials declared that CNN do not have their numbers straight, yet declined to comment on the real numbers.
After similar accusations emerged during the previous year, the Florida Department of Health required an expert team to review the heart surgery program designed for children. Dr. Jeffrey Jacobs from John Hopkins and lead of the expert team suggested that the program should be refrained from operating on babies that are not yet 6 months old.
At the same time he noted that St. Mary’s Medical Center simply cannot acquire the needed experience to perform the complex surgeries they are embarking on. In 2013 there were only 23 pediatric heart surgeries.
For a national average of 100, this number simply cannot bring good news and is considered very low by the Society for Thoracic Surgeons.
The CNN investigation found a response from Florida’s Department of Health that stated that the state is not responsible for regulating how many procedures are performed at any given pediatric cardiac program. They concern is following the law. To this extent they will keep monitoring the proceedings at St. Mary’s Medical Center.
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