How successful are pediatric heart surgeries?

Posted at 4:56 PM, Feb 15, 2016
and last updated 2016-02-15 18:12:13-05

Some doctors in St. Petersburg are pushing for transparency.

They want all hospitals to make the success rates of children's heart surgeries public information. Right now, sharing that information isn't required.

One week after heart transplant surgery, 10-year-old Kayla Williams is upbeat, recovering at All Children's Hospital.

"It is nothing short of a miracle like we know this is all God's plan and it moved so fast," her mother Gina Graham said.

"I feel like I can do anything now," Kayla Williams said.

Kayla learned she needed a new heart, got on the donor list and had surgery, all within 3 weeks. Despite the speed, Graham said asking doctors the right questions is crucial.

"They did tell me what the success rate was and what the prognosis is," she said.

Surprisingly, Dr. Jeff Jacobs said not all hospitals will tell you success rates of their surgeries.

"Less than half of the pediatric heart surgery programs in the country openly and transparently share their results, my goal would be that all of the programs would share this information," Jacobs said.

Last year, a CNN report revealed a high number of babies died in surgery at St. Mary's Medical Center in West Palm Beach. Many parents said they had no idea. Dr. Jacobs said you need to ask tough questions.

"Has your team done this operation before, how often, and what are the chances of my baby going home alive?" he said.

That's what he'll be urging hospitals and doctors to reveal during a conference this week.

Graham said she's glad she knew what to expect.

"I'm thankful, blessed, relieved, and just to know that we are on the road to recovery," Graham said.

Kayla should be out of the hospital in a few weeks.