Death Rate for Heart Surgery Patients Tripled at All Children’s Hospital

death rate for heart surgery patients The string of horrific pediatric deaths in 2017 at All Children’s Hospital in St. Petersburg, Florida was not supposed to happen. When internationally renowned John Hopkins took over the hospital six years prior, care at the facility was supposed to improve and they promised to transform the small heart surgery unit into one of the top pediatric heart surgery units in the country. Instead, things took a turn for the worst. Children began dying at unprecedented rates and in 2018 a Tampa Bay Times investigation exposed the hospital and launched a federal review.

Cause of Death: Preventable Medical Mistakes

According to their investigation, one in ten patients died last year at All Children’s Hospital – triple the mortality rate from 2015. Other children sustained life-changing injuries, such as massive strokes, and other brain injuries.

Reporters spent a year investigating the All Children’s Heart Institute and the deaths that occurred here. They compared the 10 pediatric heart surgery programs in Florida and analyzed more than 27 million hospital admissions over a decade. Reporters combed through thousands of pages of medical reports and spoke with families across the state. What they uncovered was shocking.

  • All Children’s surgeons made serious medical mistakes in events that should have never happened.
  • John Hopkins’ administrators disregarded safety concerns raised by staff since 2015
  • In 18 months, 11 children died after operations performed by the hospital’s two principal heart surgeons.
  • All Children’s 2017 mortality rate was the highest for any Florida pediatric heart program over the last ten years.
  • The institute’s troubles and the errors that occurred in the hospital were not disclosed to parents.

On more than one occasion, surgeons lost needles inside of the infant’s chest when performing heart surgery, post-surgery infections skyrocketed, and patches designed to cover heart holes failed at extraordinary rates.

The hospital was cited numerous times for not reporting “adverse incidents” within 15 days, as required by Florida law. In October 2018, All Children’s Hospital halted all pediatric heart surgeries. In February 2019, a federal report found that the problems that existed at All Children’s were so severe that they represented “immediate jeopardy” to patient health and safety. An immediate jeopardy citation is so rare that fewer than 5% of hospitals nationwide receive this citation.


Florida Lawmakers Propose Legislation

In April 2019, the state’s House of Representatives approved a bill to increase oversight of pediatric heart surgeries. If signed into law, it would allow Florida’s Pediatric Cardiac Technical Advisory Panel to identify problems in heart surgery units and recommend solutions to ensure that these types of grave medical and surgical errors are reduced. While this panel already existed prior to the All Children’s Hospital incidents, they lacked the authority to step in and make changes when necessary.


Contact Our Tampa Medical Malpractice Lawyers Today

If you or someone you love has suffered harm because of a medical error or surgical error, you may be eligible to file a medical malpractice claim. While not every medical mistake is malpractice, it is important to discuss your situation with an experienced medical malpractice attorney immediately.

At Armando Personal Injury Law, our Tampa medical malpractice lawyers can help you and your family after a devastating medical error has caused you harm. Contact Armando Personal Injury Law at (813) 538-1589 or fill out our confidential contact form. We have offices in Tampa, Fort Lauderdale, and Lakeland, Florida and we offer complete legal assistance every step of the way.


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