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Unprofessionalism and the higher risk for surgical errors

For most individuals, seeking medical care is about trust. He or she will put forth effort when choosing a primary physician; thus, when surgery is necessary, the same level of trust is needed in these specialists performing his or her surgery. The reputation of a medical professional goes beyond the care they provide their patients, however. The camaraderie and professionalism they have with fellow surgeons and medical staff can also play a factor in the care they provide and the potential for medical errors occurring.

A recent study focused on the professional manners of surgeons and whether unprofessional behaviors with patients and colleagues created an increased risk for medical errors and surgical complications experienced by patients. Researchers focused on surgical or medical complications that occurred within 30 days of the actual surgery. Then, the researchers looked at the 36 months preceding the date of the operation, assessing whether there were any reports by coworkers regarding unprofessionalism.

The data analyzed in the report was based on more than 13,000 patients that underwent operations by 202 surgeons. Based on the data collected, it was found that 11.6% of these patients experienced complications, of which 6% were surgical complications while 7.8 were medical complications.

It was found that the medical complication rate for patients was 14.3% higher with surgeons that had 1 to 3 coworker reports and 11.9% higher for surgeons that had 4 or more coworker reports. This is in comparison to surgeons that had no coworker reports in the 36 months prior to the surgery that involved complications.

Thus, based on these findings, researchers found that surgeons with a higher number of coworker reports about unprofessional behaviors had a greater risk of causing surgical or medical complications for their patients. These complications included kidney complications, lung infections and surgical site infections.

When patients suffer harm or complications during or following a surgery, it is important that they fully understand what happened. It can be a confusing time, especially when additional medical attention is necessary. Therefore, it is imperative that patients consider their rights and what legal options they might have. A medical malpractice action may be necessary and could help a patient recover compensation for the harms suffered.

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