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Surgery safer at teaching hospitals


5 March, 2008  

Patients at teaching hospitals have 17% less chance of dying after lung cancer surgery, compared to those undergoing surgery at non-teaching hospitals, according to results of a study published in the Annals of Thoracic Surgery.

Lead author of the paper, Robert Meguid MD, said: “There’s a public perception that teaching hospitals can be dangerous places because of training issues, and concerns are frequently voiced by patients and echoed in the press regarding a fear of physicians-in-training practicing on them. The data from our study help refute these fears.”

The study looked at data from 46,951 patients, aged 18 to 85, who underwent surgery for lung cancer at hospitals across the United States between 1998 and 2004. Operations ranged from small lung-segment removal to total lung removal.

The researchers tracked discharges and deaths, and compared patient outcomes at three different types of hospitals – those with any type of physician specialty training program, those with general surgery training programs and those with thoracic surgery training programs. They took into account factors such as age, gender and other illnesses of each patient, and they also took into consideration the number of each of the different types of lung cancer surgeries that each hospital performed.

Lung cancer is the leading cause of cancer death among both males and females in the United States.

Johns Hopkins Medical Institutions

Annals of Thoracic Surgery