250 cardiac surgery deaths to be investigated

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Between 200 and 250 deaths that occurred during or after cardiac surgery at St George’s Hospital in London are to be investigated.

The study has been initiated by NHS Improvement after it was found that between April 2013 and September 2018 this hospital had a much higher mortality rate than other cardiac units across the country.

The unit is being reviewed by independent doctors who specialise in cardiac surgery, cardiology and anaesthetics.

The most complex heart surgeries were stopped at St George’s cardiac unit last year, after it was discovered that a serious argument had been a contributing factor to the abnormally high mortality rate.

Those carrying out the review will assess the quality of the treatment that those who died received, and the level of safety they were given. They will also examine the measures that have been put in place in an attempt to improve care and reduce the death rate within the unit.

The review is likely to take between six to 12 months.

Amanda Cavanagh, a Medical Negligence Specialist at Ashtons Legal, says: “These reviews are always welcome as no one should be above scrutiny. If there is found to be systemic or other reasons why the death rate is higher here than in other hospitals, then there has to be an open and honest disclosure of the findings and measures put in place to prevent future deaths.”


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