When Residents Perform Surgeries You Thought Were to be Performed by a Doctor

Hospitals, Medical Malpractice Mistakes, Surgery

Surgery is a scary time.  Either it is an emergency and you do not have a choice, a scheduled surgery for an injury or condition, or a purely elective surgery, patients about to undergo surgery are usually going to feel some anxiety, fear, and general uneasiness.  But knowing that we have an experienced surgeon can make us feel better about the procedure we are about to undergo.

Or do we?

Many times in a teaching hospital it is not the surgeon who is performing the surgery.  In fact, the surgeon may not even be in the operating room.  A resident may be thrust in to perform the entire surgery.  This can be dangerous and downright risky.  The surgeon may be in a completely different operating room during almost the entire procedure.

That is, almost the entire procedure.

Must hospital and healthcare billing requires that the surgeon be present in the operating room for at least two critical stages of the surgery.  What could be two critical stages?

Incision and closing up!

That means the resident could perform the entire surgery without the surgeon being in the room for anything more than the first cut and the last stitch.  That is SCARY!  It is very unsettling and dangerous.

Now, some larger procedures like heart surgeries, brain surgeries, and other procedures will likely have more surgeon supervision.  Whereas surgeries like an appendectomy may not.  But an appendectomy could result in just as many significant complications and issues as other surgeries, and massive internal infections can kill a patient by turning him or her septic.

When this happens, the surgeon, resident, hospital, and affiliated teaching hospital may be liable when a resident performing the surgery creates the error resulting in medical malpractice.  You thought it was performed by a doctor, but in reality it may not have been.

But what do you think?  I would love to hear from you!  Leave a comment or I also welcome your phone call on my toll-free cell at 1-866-889-6882 or you can drop me an e-mail at jfisher@fishermalpracticelaw.com.  You are always welcome to request my FREE book, The Seven Deadly Mistakes of Malpractice Victims, at the home page of my website at www.protectingpatientrights.com.