CNN report on pediatric heart surgery spurs conference on transparency

Dr. Jeffrey Jacobs, center, has pushed for pediatric heart surgery programs to be open about their death rates.

Story highlights

  • Of 107 pediatric heart surgery centers in the U.S., only 32 make this data public
  • CNN reported on lack of transparency spurring new conference on transparency this week

(CNN)Amy and Brian Basken had been home from the hospital for just 45 minutes with their newborn son, Nicholas, when they received an urgent phone call. It was a doctor telling them to return right away because tests showed Nicholas had a potentially lethal heart defect.

The Baskens would have loved the opportunity to compare hospitals in their area and find out if the hospital where he was born was really the best place to go. Perhaps another one had more experience or better success rates with babies with heart defects.
But they had no way of doing that, because most hospitals aren't fully transparent with their data -- they don't reveal how many children they've operated on and how many have lived and died.
    When the Baskens arrived back at the hospital where Nicholas was born, Amy said doctors told them they would take care of him. The anxious new parents said they waited at the hospital for more than eight hours only to be told Nicholas w