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When Patients Shouldn’t Have Surgery

| Jun 27, 2013 | Surgical Errors

Massachusetts residents in need of surgery might want to take note of a research study by Johns Hopkins that showed that there was both a higher rate of complications and a higher rate of mortality in July. Some people believe that July is one of the worst times to get surgery because it is when new medical students enter each hospital to begin their residency, and this can contribute to surgical errors. However, other studies have shown that there is no increase in issues, possibly due to other doctors being more conscientious about their work.

However, studies have found that those admitted during holidays appear to have a poorer prognosis than those admitted on other days. This means that there is some influence on how a person’s prognosis will be based on when they entered the hospital. Other studies have shown that there are specific times when certain procedures should be done. Studies showed that a colonoscopy became less likely to detect polyps the later in the day they were performed. Births occurring late at night were more likely to cause infant mortality, even when specific emergency factors were controlled for.

While it is not certain that there are specific times of the year to get surgeries, there are some conclusions that can be drawn. Patients are generally safer getting a colonoscopy or other surgery earlier in the day when surgeons are less fatigued, and patients should avoid potential medical emergencies during the holiday season.

Injuries that are caused by inexperienced staff such as the new doctors in July would constitute medical malpractice if it is due to negligence. More experienced staff members are supposed to supervise these residents for precisely this reason. Massachusetts residents that have had bad medical experience may want to consider a malpractice suit to gain compensation for their medical bills and suffering. As the statistics show, it is very possible for doctors to make mistakes or errors out of fatigue, especially later in the day. However, a negative outcome alone does not necessarily constitute negligence, so professional help might be beneficial.

Source: The Atlantic, “The Worst Time to Have Surgery“, James Hamblin, June 19, 2013


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