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Your surgeon’s birthday and malpractice

On Behalf of | Feb 5, 2021 | Medical Malpractice |

There are some interesting factors that can play a role in predicting the success of your surgery. Surprisingly, a recent study indicates that operations performed on the surgeon’s birthday may determine whether there will be surgical mistakes.

Birthdays and surgery

The Medical Journal BMJ published a new study of survival data from almost one million emergency operations performed by over 47,000 surgeons in this country between 2011 and 2014. All the patients were at least 65 and underwent at least one of 17 common emergency operations such as coronary artery bypass surgery or gallbladder removal.

More patients, 6.9 percent, died within one month of the surgery when the operation was performed on the surgeon’s birthday. By comparison, surgeries on other days led to a fatality within one month in 5.6 percent of cases. A surgeon’s birthday, however, did not affect non-emergency surgery results.

In another interesting finding, the researchers did not attribute these errors to other factors that would seemingly cause malpractice:

  • Changing surgery dates based on the surgeon’s birthday.
  • A small number of surgeons having high complication rates that could distort results.
  • Variation in the complexity, frequency, and type of surgery.
  • Surgeons trying to avoid surgery on their birthday.
  • A major or landmark birthday, such as turning 50.
  • The birthday fell on the weekend.

The study’s authors found one plausible explanation for this outcome. They believe that the findings indicate that life events distract surgeons. The researchers did not specifically interpret this finding or determine whether the surgery was affected because the surgeons were less focused, rushing to leave so they could celebrate or excited.

Other trends

Different studies revealed other trends. Research showed, for example, that medical facilities and surgeons that perform many hip and knee replacements tend to have lower rates of complications than centers and surgeons which perform them less frequently.

According to some researchers, there is a July effect at teaching hospitals where surgical outcomes are less successful that month when new medical and surgical trainees begin. However, other studies have disputed this finding.

There are also different studies on the impact of playing music, of any type, in the operating room. Evidence is mixed on whether music is helpful or harmful.

Research also addressed whether a surgeon’s dominant hand played a part in surgical success. One study of cataract surgery showed that patients receiving surgery from left-handed surgical trainees had fewer complications.

Attorney can help determine whether there was malpractice or surgical error. They may also pursue compensation and damages in a malpractice lawsuit.