Question 2d

After a year you become aware of a very high mortality in the post-operative patients of one of the surgeons.

(d) How will you approach this problem? 

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College Answer

This is a topical and difficult problem. It is best approached by assessing the surgeon’s results in the light of available benchmarks. It is possible that there is a high referral rate of high-risk patients. Before precipitating alarm it would be best to start by gathering information from all available sources and then confiding in trusted colleagues for advice and personal experiences. Referral to the medical defence group would provide expert legal and medical advice. If there is concrete evidence of negligent, incompetent or poor practice it should be presented to hospital division and administration and the surgeon involved. Further avenues may then be regional medical board.