Surgeons are highly trained doctors who take their patients’ lives into their hands every time they go to work. Nurses, anesthesiologists and perhaps other surgeons join them in the operating theater. Patients may not realize that the doctor they discussed the surgery with and checked on them afterward was not the only surgeon doing the work. The lead or surgeon of record may do the specific procedure. Still, they may have others do the initial incision or move on to other patients before the surgery is over, leaving junior surgeons to close the incision and finish the surgery. This is not a new practice, and it is common in teaching hospitals.
Impact felt by high-risk patients
Great surgeons do not come out of medical school at the top of their field. They all start by helping more senior doctors. Usually, this has a negligible impact upon the patient’s recovery. However, one study points out that older patients and patients in high-risk groups with underlying conditions have a 1% higher fatality rate, and 2% are more likely to experience post-operation complications. This information may cause high-risk patients and their families to pause, wondering if they are getting the medical care they signed up for.
Hospitals are not transparent in their practices
Some medical facilities do not inform the patient who is involved in the procedure. Even if they put it in the contract, that information may get buried amidst pages of disclaimers. High-risk patients may want to ask who participated in the surgery and what they did, particularly when the procedure did not go according to plan.