French Hospital has high heart surgery death rates

April 29, 2013

French_HospitalA state report ranks San Luis Obispo’s French Hospital Medical Center — and a doctor who performs surgeries there — as having some of the highest adjusted mortality rates for heart bypass surgery patients in the state, according to a report released last week by the Office of Statewide Health Planning and Development.

French Hospital ranks 115 out of 120 for hospitals in California that host Coronary Artery Bypass Graft (CABG) surgeries. Pismo Beach based surgeon Stephan Freyaldenhoven has the fourth highest adjusted mortality rate, ranking 268 out of 271.

In 2010, of 93 isolated CABG surgeries performed at French Hospital, five patients died.

French Hospital officials did not respond to an email query from CalCoastNews.

CalCoastNews focused on the state’s 95 percent confidence interval for risk-adjusted mortality rates. These rankings are adjusted from the observed mortality rate by factoring in the patient’s specific health indicators and the number of surgeries performed.

For example, even though a physician may have lost one out of two patients, which would be an observed rate of 50 percent, the surgeon may have a better factored rate than a doctor who lost three out of 30 patients.

The state’s reported hospital rates are based on 2010 data, while surgeon grades are based on data from 2009 and 2010. The mortality rates include all deaths which occurred during hospitalization in which the CABG surgery was performed, and any deaths within 30 days after the surgery.

Catholic Healthcare West, a not-for-profit that operates French Hospital, became San Luis Obispo’s only cardiac surgery provider in 2010 after several doctors with a financial interest in French Hospital refused to perform surgeries at other local hospitals.


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My experience has been that the nursing and support staff is great, but the hospitalist (the Dr’s that manage your care during your stay), please, my words cannot begin to express the anguish. The contract for hospitalists at French is by a group of Pulmonary Dr’s who also practice there, and that should be enough said…

Come back and talk about these stats in 10 years, and as bad as they are today, you will rethink and these will be fantastic odds in years to come. Everything is relative, especially in medicine!

you may have hit the nail on the head. the hospitalists. that’s been my experience. sometimes they don’t even make the rounds, a PA is sent.

My father contracted a staph infection during his quadruple bypass heart surgery at french. 2 years later, the staph had eaten through his chestbone and he had to have his entire chestbone removed. This was also done at French. I am glad others have had positive results there. I wouldn’t trust them.

I think we should put the sensational headlines aside and ask the question-how many lives have they saved at French Hospital and other local hospitals? I was saved at one and brought back from cardiac arrest. That event did not make any headlines.

Not everyone is going to survive their medical complications, if they did these doctors would be miracle workers.

when they work on you make sure you take your significant other along with you to ride shotgun.

What is the “adjusted mortality rate” anyway? Adjusted HOW, exactly?

I suppose we’re just supposed to ignore everything and start bashing or praising, as each cases may be. I’m a numbers type person, so I like to see data and, more importantly, how it was manipulated (or adjusted).

For instance, one surgeon can have an average patient age of 85, while another has one of 65… I wonder if survivability is linked to age (65 year olds are often healthier than 85 year olds)?

may i please have mine adjusted upward?

I’d like mine adjusted DOWNWARD! A higher mortality rate = death.

But, it was a funny reply! +1

My experiences with French have been perfect. I have found them to be singularly competent.

The nurses are genuinely concerned and empathic.

(I don’t understand why some patients lose it when they should be helping their doctor by keeping it together. I do understand how some folks can be scared… but flying off the handle helps no one. )

As for medical feedback, I actually got more than I wanted to know… but they were very forthcoming. My

cartiologist’s group has a phone “AP”… so questions and such get handled.

No hospital has a perfect record and I think every one should have someone looking over their shoulder … but I do think French is a quality hospital with a great staff.. from my own and my entire family’s experiences.

It could be worse… I mean, you could be a young parent wanting to get a second opinion for your infant’s heart condition and have the child confiscated by the police!

Just imagine how cool it will be when we have single-payer, government run (and even more-regulated) healthcare.

These numbers may be misleading. I have seen reports showing French as one of the top 50 heart hospitals in the nation. I had a successful bypass surgery at French in 2008 and I’m happy to be able to be able to talk about it.

I am always leery of government-provided or produced “statistics” – whether they are local medical related, or national unemployment related. If one does not trust financial figures, estimates, and other data, why would one think that medical data is all of a sudden trust-worthy?

Color me skeptical.

Not surprising. The place damned near killed me with diagnoses based on rumor rather than fact.

With indifferent doctors

With nurses bordering on the sadistic. One in particular should never ever even been called a nurse.

No medical feedback from any medical staff.

No explanation as to what was to happen to me then shuffled off to another facility with no explanation.

If I had the means I would have sued them.

Patients should be relocated and French Hospital should be burned to the ground.

But I don’t mean that in a BAD way.

Why would folks hammer this comment just because he is angry at perceived bad care? Anyone would say the same thing if they got bad care.

In the earlier days, parachutes were not as reliable as today but if I had to jump from a plane the odds are greatly improved with any parachute.

I hear you, Jorge, but what if the choice were to jump with a Chinese-knock-off chute with a 95% correct opening history, or a chute with a 98% opening history?

Yeah, it’s only a couple of percent, but it’s significant when you’re hurtling earthward at 9.8 m/s2.

Just sayin’.

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