A recent issue of the Annals of Surgery which studied the burn-out rates and the levels of stress in the US among 9000 surgeons revealed an additional interesting finding…9% of surgeons said they were concerned they had made a “major medical error” in the preceding three months.
No matter how you look at it, these figures are alarming in today’s hospitals where patient safety is a top priority. Also, compared to physicians, errors made by surgeons have more severe consequences for patients due to the interventional (read – invasive) nature of surgical practice. The survey, commissioned by the American College of Surgeons, also showed that 40% were ‘burned out‘ and 30% showed symptoms of depression.
So how do you avoid mistakes when going for surgery ?
Some pointers include looking for a hospital with a good safety record as well as those possessing a recognised accreditation standard (such hospitals voluntarily undergo screening by a recognised review body, such as the JCI, in order to provide services of a certain minimum quality).
Find out from your doctor where he sends his relative to. What’s good enough for a doctor is usually a stamp of approval. Why, even nurses in the hospital may provide the right doctor if one cares to ask.
Look for someone who’s busy. Sure, it means long waiting times, but this might be worth it in the long run.
Finally, some health department websites do provide statistics on how many specific operations are done in a year and what the complication rates are. This way one can opt for the best hospitals for a particular procedure. This website provides info of the best hospitals in the US, for instance – click here.
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