U.S. News Reports that Hospitals Performing Fewer Surgeries May Have Higher Rates of Military Medical Negligence

Patient shortages in military hospitals may contribute to military medical negligence.

U.S. News examined three decades of data drawn from every military hospital worldwide from 2012 through 2016, looking into 10 categories of procedures: weight-loss surgery, hip replacement, knee replacement, mitral valve repair, surgery to patch abdominal aortic aneurysms, carotid-artery stenting, and operations to remove cancers of the esophagus, pancreas, rectum, and lung.

Here are some of the results:

  • 35% of military health facilities performed a total of 10 or fewer of the studied procedures during the five-year period.
  • Only 8 of the 57 military hospitals that perform knee replacement surgery recorded more than 50 of these surgeries in each of the five years studied. Studies show that patient outcomes for knee replacements are better when surgeons perform more than 50 per year.
  • Only 7 of 46 hospitals that performed bariatric surgery met the American Society of Metabolic and Bariatric Surgery standard of 50 per hospital for weight-loss operations in each of the five years studied.
  • San Antonio Military Medical Center at Fort Sam Hood in San Antonio, Texas, the Portsmouth Naval Medical Center in Portsmouth, Virginia, and the Madigan Army Medical Center near Lakewood, Washington, performed the greatest number of the studied procedures during the five-year period.

U.S. News found that all of these studied procedures are shown to have worse outcomes (such as higher complication and death rates) when performed by surgical teams that do small numbers of these surgeries. 

The mounting U.S. News evidence that patients fare far better when these procedures are performed in higher volumes has prompted Johns Hopkins Health System, the University of Michigan Medical Center, and Dartmouth-Hitchcock Medical Center to establish minimum thresholds for the 10 categories of complex surgical procedures that were analyzed in this study.

If you or a loved has experienced an injury due to military medical negligence, contact our attorneys for a free, no-obligation consultation.