Your doctor has recommended a surgical procedure. Whether that procedure is done at the hospital or an outpatient procedure, you find yourself nervous at the idea of going under. For the most part, anesthesia is safe. However, when surgeons and physicians fail to take a detailed history or monitor their patient, serious errors can occur during even the simplest of procedures.
To put your mind at ease, learn all risks and benefits of your suggested procedure. Then, make sure the surgeon performing the procedure is qualified to do so.
The Truth about Unqualified Surgeons
In one study done by U.S. News, it was found that between 2010 and 2011, there were 11,000 patient deaths in hospitals at the hands of surgeons who had little experience with type of surgery performed. These patients would have most likely lived had the procedure been “routine” for an experienced surgeon.
More hospitals have deployed the minimum volume standard, which means that they will not allow a surgeon to perform a surgery in their hospital if they have not met a minimum number of procedures per year. However, not all hospitals have this rule. Therefore, you do not want to hope that the hospital where your surgery is performed has this rule – you should check to be sure.
A patient should never assume that their physician is qualified to perform a surgery. Instead, they need to consider the doctor’s specialty, qualifications, and volume themselves.
Questions to Ask Your Physician
If your surgeon has recommended surgery, you will have a consultation. During that consultation, ask questions to ensure they are experienced and trained in the procedure they are about to perform on you or a loved one. Here are just five important questions to ask:
- Why is the surgery recommended for me? Ask why the surgeon wants to perform this surgery on you, and how the benefits outweigh the risks. What would happen if you refused the surgery? Are there alternative procedures you can do with a lower risk?
- What is your experience with this surgery? Ask the surgeon how many of these surgeries he or she does each year. Is it a surgery they do weekly? Or, is it a surgery they rarely do? You want a surgeon that performs this procedure once a week (if a standard procedure) and at least a few times per month (even as a rarer procedure).
- What board certifications do you have? You can verify a surgeon’s board certifications online, and it is imperative that you do so. Some surgeons will wander outside of their certification. Even though the surgeon is board certified in a specialty, they may perform surgeries outside of that specialty – which means they are not as well trained in that area.
- How many surgical procedures of this nature does the hospital handle? You want staff that is equally prepared for the procedure because surgery involves more than a single surgeon. Make sure the hospital has experience with the type of procedure you are receiving. If the hospital has limited experience, ask if the surgeon can move to a hospital nearby with experience in that procedure.
- What is the success and failure rate of the surgical procedure? Ask the surgeon what the overall success and failure rate of the procedure is, then about their personal success and failure rate. Complicated procedures may carry a 50/50 success rate, while others could have as low as a 25 percent success rate. You want to know how often the surgeon themselves succeeds with that procedure too.
Injured by an Incompetent Surgeon? You Have Rights
If your surgeon was unqualified, or the hospital where you received your surgery was not equipped or prepared, you could suffer serious injuries. When these injuries occur, you have the right to seek compensation under the law.
To see if your case qualifies, speak with a medical malpractice attorney. Attorney Seth Gladstein understands what you and your loved ones are going through. You trusted your physician, and now you have permanent injuries and costs that just keep adding up.
Speak with him today during a free consultation to see if you can receive compensation for your medical negligence case. Schedule your appointment now by calling him at 502-791-9000 or contact him online with your questions.