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Invited Critique
Aug 2011

A Congressman's Legacy: Comment on “Costs of Postoperative Sepsis”

Author Affiliations

Author Affiliation: Department of Surgery, Trauma and Acute Care Surgery, Indiana University Health Methodist Hospital, Indianapolis, Indiana.

Arch Surg. 2011;146(8):951-952. doi:10.1001/archsurg.2011.173

During the 1980s, the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) came under widely publicized congressional concern for the quality of surgical care in Veterans Health Affairs (VHA) hospitals, as prominently articulated by then Representative Ted Weiss (D-New York). At issue for the congressman was a VA Inspector General's report revealing that operative mortality rates for coronary artery bypass graft procedures in VHA hospitals were significantly higher than estimates of mortality in private-sector hospitals published at that time by the National Center for Health Statistics. Ironically, Rep Weiss died prematurely of coronary artery disease after undergoing 2 coronary artery bypass grafts.1