North Carolina Children’s Hospital has suspended heart surgeries for complex cases in the aftermath of an explosive New York Times investigation that found the hospital’s heart unit had an alarmingly high mortality rate.
The investigation found cardiologists, department leaders and the former head of the hospital were concerned about patients after heart surgery at the facility. Recorded audio even captured some doctors saying they wouldn’t trust the hospital to do surgeries on their own children. The mortality rate continued to rise after concerns were raised.
In response to the media investigation, the University of North Carolina-affiliated UNC Health Care, which operates the hospital, stated is would temporarily halt heart surgeries for the most complex cases and introduced a number of new initiatives to the heart surgery program, including an outside advisory board of medical experts and commitments to publicly release mortality data for the program.
The problems at the UNC hospital are reminiscent of high mortality rates in the pediatric heart unit of Johns Hopkins All Children’s Hospital in St. Petersburg, Florida, which was uncovered by The Tampa Bay Times last year. That revelation led to a CMS investigation and the resignations of several executives at the hospital.
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