Healthcare Quality and Surgical Safety in the US

The quality of healthcare is a major concern around the globe. According to Ransom, Joshi, Nash, and Ransom (2014), the quality of US healthcare is not satisfactory enough since many scientific findings are not implemented into practice. Additionally, the differences in standards of methods and the occurrence of unnecessary or even harmful procedures also add to the problem with healthcare quality (Ransom et al., 2014). The presented case is a vivid example of the phenomenon.

The case scenario states that John Smith, despite having two cardiac bypass surgeries and receiving immediate care, dies from a massive heart attack. The outcome confirms that the quality of care received by the patient was poor. The fact that the patient had two surgeries demonstrates that today’s care aims at treating acute illnesses. According to Mayo Clinic (n.d.), after the operation people usually feel better and live symptom-free for 10-15 years. However, these effects are achieved only if a patient is instructed about the necessary lifestyle changes, smoking cessation, and stress management. In the present case scenario, the healthcare system seems to have failed to provide continuity of care.

Other factors may have led to the patient’s death. Sendlhofer et al. (2016) state that adherence to the standard procedures, such as the Surgical Safety Checklist, is poor. Avoidance of standard and practically tested methods may lead to increased mortality among patients. Ransom et al. (2014) confirmed by stating that “many scientifically sound practices are not used as often as they should be” (p. 4). Therefore, the situation described in the case scenario can be attributed to the problem of poor adherence to hospital guidelines.

Even though the patient’s death signifies the poor quality of healthcare, additional factors should be considered to see the whole picture. For instance, the described outcome may be due to the patient’s aggressive refusal to follow the recommendations of the doctors. Additionally, John Smith’s death may be attributed to environmental factors, such as stress due to the loss of a family member. In short, the described outcome may have occurred due to poor quality of healthcare, patient’s poor adherence to doctor’s recommendations, and environmental factors.


Mayo Clinic. (n.d.) Coronary bypass surgery. Web.

Ransom, E. R., Joshi, M. S., Nash, D. B., & Ransom S. B. (Eds.). (2014). The healthcare quality book: Vision, strategy, and tools (3rd ed.). Ottawa, Canada: Health Administration Press.

Sendlhofer, G., Lumenta, D. B., Leitgeb, K., Kober, B., Jantscher, L., Schanbacher, M., … Kamolz, L. P. (2016). The gap between individual perception and compliance: A qualitative follow-up study of the surgical safety checklist application. PLOS ONE, 11(2), pp. e0149212. Web.