Poor Surgeon Attitude Toward Patients Linked with Worse Outcomes

Patients treated by surgeons with the most complaints had more complications in the month following surgery.
Patients treated by surgeons with the most complaints had more complications in the month following surgery.

HealthDay News -- According to a study published in JAMA Surgery, patients treated by surgeons with a history of patient complaints regarding their personalities or attitude are at increased risk of surgical and medical complications.

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.

References

Cooper WO, et al. "Use of Unsolicited Patient Observations to Identify Surgeons With Increased Risk for Postoperative Complications." JAMA Surg. 2017. doi:10.1001/jamasurg.2016.5703. [Epub ahead of print]

Kachalia A, Mello MM, Studdert DM. "Association of Unsolicited Patient Observations With the Quality of a Surgeon's Care." JAMA Surg. 2017. doi:10.1001/jamasurg.2016.5705. [EPub ahead of print]

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