• Kyodo, Staff Report


Laparoscopic surgery patients who have their livers removed at Gunma University Hospital are dying at quadruple the national average, three medical societies said in a recent report.

The Japan Surgical Society, the Japanese Society of Gastroenterological Surgery and the National Clinical Database said fatalities stood at 8.70 percent at Gunma University Hospital from 2011 to 2013, against the national average of 2.27 percent for the same period.

Laparoscopy surgery uses a thin, lighted tube that is inserted through an incision made in the belly

A university investigation team reported that there were eight deaths involving such operations at the hospital between December 2010 and June 2014. The societies computed the national average by analyzing data at 2,336 facilities.

The report said there were 23,489 liver removal operations in Japan from 2011 to 2013 and that the death rate was 3.69 percent.

Laparoscopic surgery, accounting for 5.1 percent of all such operations, has been on the rise.

In December 2002, at a Jikei University hospital branch in Tokyo, three surgeons were reportedly recorded joking about their unfamiliarity with the laparoscope while using one to operate on a patient as one read the instruction manual. The patient died after heavy blood loss caused by a cut made with the device.

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