Following media reports and investigations into the infant mortality rate at St. Mary’s Medical Center in Florida, the institution announced that the pediatric cardiothoracic surgery program will be terminated.
The closure of the pediatric cardiothoracic surgery program is not related to media investigations, nor is it related to state and federal recommendations, according to the official statement on Monday.
The St. Mary’s Medical Center in Florida started the pediatric surgery program in 2011. Ever since, it has been in the attention of the media. According to a CNN report, the infant mortality rate following open heart surgeries surged to three times that at the national level.
The allegations were dismissed as inaccurate by the representatives of the medical center. In June, another CNN report indicated that nine infants had died after open heart surgery, while a tenth infant had been paralyzed as of 2013.
The St. Mary’s Medical Center was recommended to cease surgeries on infants below six months of age. The recommendation came from John Hopkins All Children’s Heart Institute.
Now, the medical center is ceasing the program altogether.
“We are proud of the work that has been done and the lives that have been saved. This is the decision of the hospital and not based on a decision or recommendation by the State of Florida or any regulatory agency”,
a spokesperson announced.
In the same statement, the inaccurate media reports were blamed for the low volume of surgeries performed at St. Mary’s Medical Center. It seems however, that reverse was claimed by CNN after having compiled data from the medical records and parents of the infants who had undergone surgery here.
According to the CNN report, one possible cause for the high mortality rate among infants was the low volume of pediatric cardiothoracic surgeries performed. Without the needed practice and expertise, a surge in infant mortality is bound to happen.
St. Mary’s Medical Center in Florida disclaimed all allegations, maintaining that the infant mortality rate was in line with the average at the national level, that the volume of pediatric surgeries only decreased after the inaccurate media reports and that the calculations made in media reports were flawed.
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