Study finds that complications and mortality for emergency surgery higher in teaching hospitals

A study in the Annals of Surgery has found that the chance of dying from emergency surgery was twenty percent higher in teaching hospitals than non teaching hospitals. 

The study examined a nationwide database of hospitals and extracted data for complications and mortality from emergency surgery.  

Other findings from the study:

  • Intestinal blockage was the only complication that was less likely to occur at a teaching hospital.
  • For elective surgeries, fistulas were 56% more likely to happen at teaching hospitals.
  • Also for elective surgeries, infection was 14% more likely to occur.

The author of the study told Reuters that the results could be due to teaching hospitals getting sicker patients, something her study did not account for. 

(Sources: The Annals of Surgery,, May, 2011; The Advisory Board Daily Briefing,, April 29, 2011, Reuters,, April 27, 2011)