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Emory Study Finds High Rate of Readmitted Patients Post-Surgery

Recently, researchers from Emory University reported the results from a study focusing on the readmission rates of general surgery patients. The study revealed that one in ten general surgery patients were readmitted to the hospital within 30 days following the surgical procedure.

The researchers reviewed the medical charts of over 1,440 patients from Emory University Hospital who had an inpatient general surgical procedure done between October 2009 and July 2011. Of those, 163 patients, or a little over 11 percent, were readmitted to the Atlanta hospital within 30 days of the procedure. Patients were most frequently sent back to the hospital because of gastrointestinal issues.

Of concern, 22 percent of the patients who were readmitted had to return to the hospital due to surgical infections. In addition, almost 29 percent of the readmitted patients had "post-operative wound complications" that arose within just 72 hours following the surgical procedure.

The study found that patients who had all or part of their pancreas removed, referred to as a pancreatectomy, were most likely to be readmitted. Other patient groups likely to be readmitted were those who were suffering from cancer or who had an open wound - both types of patients were two times more likely to have to return to the hospital.

The study suggested that, "physicians, nurses, therapists and social workers should be focused on these specific patient populations during preoperative clinic visits and throughout their hospital stay to minimize the risk of postoperative complications and readmission."

In such situations, where a patient must be readmitted following surgery, it is possible the post-operative complications were due to negligence. Consulting with an experienced personal injury attorney can help determine whether the injured party has a cause of action.

Source: Modern Physician, "Study: 1 in 10 surgery patients readmitted within 30 days," Andis Robeznieks, August 29, 2012.

Our firm handles situations in which individuals are injured due to physician negligence. If you would like to learn more about our practice, please visit our Atlanta surgical error page.

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