Ambulatory Surgery Center Errors
Going to a hospital to have a scheduled surgical procedure can be an involved and costly process. Since the 70’s, Ambulatory Surgery Centers (ASC) have provided an alternative to hospitalization. ASC’s, also commonly known as outpatient surgery centers or same day surgery centers, provide outpatient surgery services and are usually less costly and more convenient than an outpatient procedure in a traditional hospital setting. Despite their utility, ASC’s still have all of the risks of undergoing surgery at a large hospital, and even some additional dangers. If you’ve been injured because of a doctor’s error at an ambulatory surgery center, you may be entitled to compensation.
Hospitals are large machines with rigorous risk management procedures in place. Internal documents and procedure manuals carefully outline the steps hospital staff must take to minimize patient risk in most conceivable situations. ASC’s are usually owned entirely or in part by a physician or group of physicians. Sometimes, the procedural manuals of an ASC are simply are not thorough enough to adequately ensure patient safety. Lax policies can lead to:
- Failure to sterilize equipment – If an ASC doesn’t have detailed guidelines for sterilizing surgical equipment and spaces, or otherwise fails to provide a properly sterilized surgical environment, patients could be at risk to contract serious, and even deadly, infections.
- Premature Discharge – Although outpatient surgery is meant to get a patient in and out, some patients are simply not ready to leave and require at least an overnight hospital stay. If an ASC negligently discharges a patient too early who needs more monitoring and care for their safety and well-being, patient injury could result.
- Lack of oversight – ASC’s are smaller than hospitals. There are fewer staff members to check on patients, and to double and triple check that other staff members have performed their functions to the necessary standard. If there is not enough oversight, simply not enough eyes on the job, common mistakes can occur like administering the wrong amount or type of medication to a patient.
- Malfunctioning Equipment – If an ASC does not have adequate policies for routinely checking that necessary equipment is functioning properly, patient injury could result when something doesn’t work when it’s needed.
- Lack of Accreditation – Although there are safety standards in place by a number of ambulatory surgery center accreditation associations, many states don’t require accreditations for facilities unless they plan to accept Medicare or private insurance payments. This means even fewer safety guidelines in place, and more patient risk.
If you’ve been injured by some negligence at an ASC, a medical malpractice attorney may be able to help. Medical professionals have a duty to provide a certain standard of care, and when they breach that duty and patient injury results, they may be guilty of medical malpractice. Contact a Chicago medical malpractice attorney to evaluate your case. Don’t hesitate, medical malpractice claims have some of the shortest statutes of limitations, and time could be running out to file yours.