West Palm Beach, FL (Law Firm Newswire) June 8, 2015 – A federal investigation of St. Mary's Medical Center has been launched after a news story reported that the West Palm Beach hospital had a death rate from open heart surgery on babies that was three times higher than the national average.
“A death rate that high means that something has gone terribly wrong,” said Debi Chalik, a prominent birth injury attorney with Chalik & Chalik Injury Lawyers. “If these children were injured or lost their lives as the result of negligence on the part of medical personnel, their families should talk to a lawyer about obtaining compensation for their loss.”
The hospital's death rate was first reported by CNN. St. Mary's keeps its death rate secret, but the news organization calculated it independently by filing a Freedom of Information request and contacting the families of children who had died. According to the report, St. Mary's performed 48 open heart surgeries on children and babies from 2011 to 2013. From the beginning of the pediatric open heart surgery program at St. Mary's in December 2011 until the present, at least nine children have died and one was left paralyzed, CNN reported.
In 2014, a team of expert heart doctors was sent by the Florida Department of Health to review the hospital's program of heart surgery for children. Dr. Jeffrey Jacobs, the head of the panel, suggested the hospital stop performing heart surgery on children younger than 6 months. The hospital continued performing such surgeries, however. The latest victim, Davi Ricardo Brandao, who died June 2, was only a few weeks old when he had heart surgery in March.
After the CNN report, the federal Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services opened an investigation, “to make sure people are not exposed unnecessarily to harm,” a federal official said. The agency is performing the investigation because most of the patients who had heart surgery at the hospital were Medicaid patients.
“The public deserves to know what is happening at St. Mary's, and the families affected deserve justice,” said Chalik.
Chalik & Chalik Injury Lawyers
777 S Flagler Dr, Suite 800
West Palm Beach, FL 33401
Phone: (561) 899-5020