Children's Deaths from Open Heart Surgeries at St. Mary's Hospital in West Palm Beach Prompt Federal Investigation
Posted By Melanie Grafil || 17-Jun-2015

A West Palm Beach, Florida hospital, St. Mary’s Medical Center, is the subject of an

investigation from The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services, as the hospital

reportedly has one of the highest rates of death from open heart surgeries on children.

Between the years 2011 and 2013, the mortality rate had risen as high as 12.5% among

surgery recipients, according to reports.

Hospital Records Calculate the Death Rate

CNN managed to obtain the data that the hospital is required to report to the state in order

to calculate the 12.5% mortality rate.. This means that the death rate is nearly three times

higher than the national average in hospitals around the country who perform heart surgery

on infants and children. There is large concern among parents who have lost their children,

as well as federal authorities, that the facility may be neglecting the basics of care, especially with regard to their Medicaid and Medicare patients.

The majority of patients who underwent open heart surgery at St. Mary’s Hospital were Medicaid patients. St. Mary’s Medical Center’s parent company, Tenet Healthcare, has declined to comment further on the claims that have been made about its program which opened in December 2011. This raises concerns over whether or not the hospital has been withholding its facts and figures.

Understanding the Risks of Open Heart Surgery

CNN discovered after reviewing the information the hospital supplied to the State of Florida that 12.5% of the babies who underwent heart surgery since the progam’s beginning died. Heart surgery is often necessary to correct congenital heart defects. In centers which perform the highest number of surgeries to correct these defects, he mortality rate is very low regardless of the difficulty of the surgery.

According to physicians hired by the State of Florida to look into its program, St. Mary’s did not perform enough surgeries each year to become proficient. In fact, they did not perform even two surgeries per month over the life of the program. In fact, these investigators determined that St. Mary’s needed to stop all surgeries on infants immediately. St. Mary’s ignored the recommendations in this report and continued to operate on babies some of whom were injured or died.

Was your family affected? Contact us today!

Shrager, Spivey & Sachs is working jointly with Florida licensed lawyer Mark Zamora of The Roger W. Orlando Firm, PC, to investigate these tragic events.

When looking for medical guidance, as well as legal representation to assist you, you should choose medical malpractice attorneys who not only understand the law, but also understand people. We work compassionately to restore dignity and peace to the lives of those who have been profoundly affected by such egregious conduct.

To learn more, please contact Shrager, Spivey & Sachs today to schedule a free appointment.

Rob Sachs & Thersea Blanco are not licensed to practice law in the State of Florida. Mark Zamora is a Florida licensed lawyer who will have primary responsibility on each case, along with Shrager, Spivey, & Sachs. Main offices, Tampa, FL. 

News & Information

Newborns at St. Chris face longer recovery after heart surgery

Updated: MARCH 20, 2016 — 3:01 AM EDT


Editorial: Excessive secrecy at St. Christopher's Hospital for Children


St. Christopher's Hospital for Children in Philadelphia is one of five hospitals in the state performing infant heart surgeries but the only one which has refused to release its mortality data to the Pennsylvania Healthcare Cost Containment Council.  Inquirer reporters were able to calculate a mortality rate based on insurance reports and determined that St. Chris had a 24% mortality rate among newborns between 2009-2014.  That is nearly triple the rate at CHOP for the same time period.

The Latest from CNN:  What to Know about St. Mary's Children's Heart Surgery Mortality Rates.

By Elizabeth Cohen

Summary:​  This is a detailed explanation of where CNN got its numbers and how it concluded that the mortality rate for congenital heart surgery at St. Mary's was three times the expected national average.