Hospital pays $178M for false advertising, inexperienced doc

Self-described excellence can be costly; just ask Florida's Memorial Hospital, which must pay $10 million after it falsely advertised its weight loss program as a "Center for Excellence," according to JD Supra.

A jury also orderd the hospital to pay plaintiff Clay Chandler $168 million in damages for brain damage he suffered as a result of uncorrected leakage in his abdomen after a weight loss procedure in 2007 performed by surgeon John DePeri.

Although pamphlets and other advertising materials claimed the Memorial Hospital program was accredited with the American Society of Bariatric Surgery's Center of Excellence seal, a jury found the hospital allowed a surgeon who did not meet the ASB's standards to perform surgery.

In accredited programs, providers must have performed at least 50 bariatric surgeries and completed at least 20 hours of bariatric education courses. However, DePeri performed only 21 bariatric surgeries and took one class prior to operating on Chandler, The Florida Times-Union reported.

The case illustrates patient safety issues associated with inexperienced physicians. Hospitals must take note of surgical volume, as providers who have seen a larger amount of comparable patients are better prepared to ensure a smooth post-op recovery period, JD Supra noted.

As FierceHealthcare previously reported, younger surgeons with fewer years of experience had poorer outcomes. Surgeons between the ages of 35 and 50 provide the safest care compared with their older or younger colleagues, according to a study published last month in the British Medical Journal (BMJ).

To learn more:
- read the JD Supra article
- check out the Center of Excellence standards
- read the ­Times-Union article