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Blogs by David W. Page
6/20/2011 12:06:54 PM
Surgical competence remains the issue of the day for partients anticipating surgery
I've been away working on a book proposal about my favorite topic - the overall competence of our new young general surgeons. I've talked about this before. And the whole issue is getting play in our own journals. But the reality is that no single general surgeon can do all of the complicated operations listed under the heading of 'general surgery'. I published an article about this issue in the Southern Medical Journal last December and received some interesting responses - both positive and negative from surgeons and other MDs. Not a whole lot of interest in competence inside the profession
So what's the payoff?
You have to ask the surgeon to whom you've been referred not only his or her experience (how many of these operations have you done and how have your patients made out?), but a new question should be added to your personal patient advocacy list: that question is: who is going to assist you? Is it another experienced (or more experieced surgeon) or is it a trainee or scrub tech or other. This is important. Because if you've been referred to a new young surgeon who will be helped by a seasoned surgeon, then you will get an excellent operation.
So that's the new tip: who will be assisitng your surgeon. Make sure you know who, as well as what the assistant's role will be - helping or doing part of the procedure. safe surgery requires more than a good surgeon.
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