Patient Complaints of Surgeon Attitude Tied to Complications

Patients whose surgeons have large numbers of unsolicited patient observations in the 24 months prior to the patient's operation are at increased risk of surgical and medical complications.
Patients whose surgeons have large numbers of unsolicited patient observations in the 24 months prior to the patient's operation are at increased risk of surgical and medical complications.

(HealthDay News) — Patients treated by surgeons with a history of patient complaints regarding their personalities or attitude are at increased risk of surgical and medical complications, according to a study published online in JAMA Surgery.

William Cooper, MD, MPH, of the Center for Patient and Professional Advocacy at the Vanderbilt University Medical Center in Nashville, and colleagues compared surgical outcomes with patient reports of unprofessional behavior by their doctors at several health systems in the United States.

The investigators found that patients treated by surgeons who had the most complaints had 13.9% more complications in the month after surgery than patients treated by surgeons viewed as more respectful. Complications included surgical-site infections, pneumonia, renal conditions, stroke, cardiovascular issues, thromboembolic conditions, sepsis, and urinary tract infections.

"Efforts to promote patient safety and address risk of malpractice claims should continue to focus on surgeons' ability to communicate respectfully and effectively with patients and other medical professionals," the authors conclude.

Reference

  1. Cooper WO, Guillamondegui O, Hines OJ, et al. Use of Unsolicited Patient Observations to Identify Surgeons With Increased Risk for Postoperative Complications. JAMA Surg. 15 February 2017. doi: 10.1001/jamasurg.2016.5703
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