Patients should question their surgeons

It is increasingly crucial for web-savvy patients to question their surgeons and take an active role in preventing mistakes, according to The Wall Street Journal (WSJ).

While patients can ask their doctor about details of their circulatory system or cancer treatment, when it comes to asking difficult, personal questions, “they often clam up," The WSJ reported. According to The WSJ, when “going under the knife, patients are often too intimidated to ask how qualified a surgeon is or what safety procedures are in place.”
Hospitals, state medical boards, medical societies and not-for-profit disease advocacy organizations have begun to offer websites, books and lists of questions to “help patients select qualified surgeons, prepare for operations and overcome the fear that often inhibits them from asking tough questions,” according to The WSJ.

Patients scheduled for surgery should ask about the success rate of their operating surgeons, the number of procedures that their surgeons have performed and whether their surgeons have any personal health issues that would interfere with their ability to complete the operation, Thomas Russell, executive director of the American College of Surgeons, told The WSJ. Patients also should ask about potential post-operative complications of their surgery, Russell said.