Surgeons’ unprofessional behavior leads to patient complications

Studies have shown that surgeons whose behavior receives complaints from patients and their family are more likely to leave their patients with post-operative complications. A report published in JAMA Surgery has linked a higher risk of patient complications with surgeons who have received complaints from their co-workers. New Jersey residents should know that 20% to 30% of surgeons receive such complaints.

Researchers analyzed 202 surgeons and 13,653 patients, finding that 1,583 of the patients experienced a complication within 30 days after their operation. It turns out that the risk for developing a complication goes up the more reports have been filed against a surgeon. Among surgeons with one to three reports, it goes up an estimated 18%. With surgeons who had four or more complaints, it becomes 32%.

These reports can be for issues like poor patient care, lack of communication in the OR and disrespectful treatment of co-workers. The complications that can arise can range from pneumonia and infection to renal conditions, cardiovascular conditions and stroke.

Patient complications cost the healthcare industry about $7 billion every year. In the U.S. where 7 million operations are performed yearly, unprofessional behavior can impact the recovery of 500,000 patients. Some are calling for a #MeToo movement in healthcare since many co-workers fear to speak up.

Unprofessional behavior can be considered medical negligence, so patients who believe that this led to their developing a preventable condition after surgery may want to see a malpractice attorney. The attorney may request an inquiry with the local medical board and even hire third-party investigators. Medical experts may come in to determine the extent of the injuries. In the end, victims may strive for a settlement covering their past and future medical expenses, lost wages and more.