Jul 19, 2022 - Health

More patients died after surgery at hospitals with high COVID burdens

Hospitals with more COVID patients during the first pandemic wave in 2020 saw more patients who underwent surgery die afterward, a Journal of the American Medical Association study found.

The big picture: Researchers think patients seeking care too late due to fear of COVID-19 and the disruption in care at hospitals caused by the pandemic both were factors.

By the numbers: Researchers analyzed more than 2.9 million surgeries at 677 hospitals, using the CDC National Health Care Safety Network data.

  • The odds of dying at hospitals with a very high COVID-19 burden from March to May 2020 were 38% higher than at facilities with low COVID-19 burden.
  • Insurance status didn't play a factor in surgery outcomes for patients in hospitals with a high number of COVID cases.

But, but, but: Patients with Medicaid or no health insurance still had higher odds of dying or having poorer outcomes than patients with private coverage, the study found.

  • The authors said the findings point to health care challenges that low-income patients face before and after they leave the hospital.
Go deeper