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Is Getting your Tonsils Out as Safe as it Seems?


Posted on Jan 23, 2014

Recently a young girl died from complications resulting from a botched tonsillectomy. After this tragedy experts decided to delve further into nationwide tonsillectomy practices to determine how safe the procedure is. The results were surprising.

NBC news reports on the dangers associated with tonsillectomies.

Thousands of kids in the United States undergo tonsillectomies every year. It is known as a minor procedure, but there can be serious life-threatening complications.

“A study released Monday shows hospitals vary greatly in just how they handle this common procedure. And kids fare differently depending on which hospital they go to. At the best hospitals, just three percent of kids came back for complications like bleeding. But at others, close to 13 percent did,” according to NBC.  

These reports show that hospitals need to improve the care they give to children undergoing tonsillectomies. NBC sheds light on this issue, “Researchers who did the study say it will be worth looking into so that all hospitals can make sure children recover well from the operations. New guidelines issued in 2011 may help get all hospitals and pediatric surgeons on the same page, other experts said. It’s something in the public eye with the case of 13 year old Jahi McMath, who died after complications from a complex tonsil operation in December at Children’s Hospital in Oakland, McMath had her tonsils out, along with her adenoids and parts of her upper throat to try and improve serious sleep apnea. She started bleeding profusely and went into cardiac arrest shortly after.”

Researchers looked at almost 150,000 cases of children who received tonsillectomies. “All got same-day operations and were sent home on the day of their procedure. Over that time, about 8 percent had to go back to the hospital within a month, usually for bleeding,” according to NBC. Hospitals are now supposed to be following new guidelines issued in 2011 related to which medicines should be given. The new stipulations warn against giving certain antibiotics that are known to cause problems.

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