Between 70% and 80% of surgeons in Colorado and throughout the U.S. never receive a complaint about unprofessional behavior. Of those who do, most show a willingness to improve their performance. Still, that leaves a small group of surgeons who are both negligent and hard to work with. This combination can have a negative impact on patient health and safety.
The link between unprofessional behavior and post-operative complications has been made in various studies. A study published in JAMA Surgery in June 2019 shows that the more times a surgeon has been reported by co-workers, the more likely it is that a complication will arise.
The study involved 202 surgeons as well as 1,583 patients who experienced complications like infection, sepsis, pneumonia, stroke or renal conditions in the first 30 days after surgery. Patients were 18% more likely to develop a complication if their surgeon had been reported between one and three occasions. After four or more reports, that risk went up 32% when compared to surgeons who had not been reported in the previous 36 months.
Unprofessional behavior includes unsafe care as well as poor communication and disrespectful communication. With an average of 7 million surgeries being performed each year in the U.S., this kind of behavior can affect about 500,000 patients. Complications cost the health care industry about $7 billion a year.
To say that a surgeon is unprofessional is to say that they are neglecting an objective standard of medical care. In other words, this can be malpractice. An individual who has been injured through the negligence of a doctor, nurse or other medical provider may be eligible for compensatory damages. This could cover medical expenses, lost wages and even physical or emotional suffering, depending on the specifics of the injuries. A malpractice victim who thinks they have a strong case may want to consult with an attorney.