1. Mistakes Are Probably More Common Than You Would Think
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Mistakes happen...surgeons are humans after all. And, despite the fact that they are incredibly talented and well-trained mistakes are inevitable. And, most of the time these are little things and not serious mistakes so that the person is rarely affected by it anyway.
2. They Won't Tell You About The Mistake
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If a mistake did happen, something not so serious where the patient was fine and they would never realise - that the surgeon generally will not inform them of it. If it is a mistake that they managed to overcome then many surgeons don't feel that it is necessary.
3. They Sometimes Get Abuse From Patients
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Sometimes patients will give verbal abuse to their surgeon - or even sometimes physical. Whether this is because the patient is in a rage, is delirious or having an alcoholic rage. It is not a common occurrence as the surgeon doesn't usually interact with the patient.
4. About 25 Percent Of Operations May Be Unnecessary
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This depends on the hospital, the country and the rules regarding surgery. But, it is thought that there are a lot of unnecessary surgeries. This is because hospitals want to generate more money. And, surgery is something that they get a lot of money for. So sometimes administrators encourage more surgeries than perhaps are necessary.
5. When Things Go Badly They Have Stress Levelling Methods
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Of course, surgery is not always successful. And,sometimes there is nothing the surgeon can do to save somebody's life despite trying their best. Each surgeon has their own calming mechanisms. According to one surgeon, as soon as he feels things going badly he starts talking very politely as a way to calm his mind.
6. The Only Way To Know What Really Went On Is To Read The Notes
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Of course, when you are being operated on there is no way to know what is really going on in that surgery room. And, many people are thankful for their operation and do not want to know behind the scenes. If you do, just ask to see the surgery notes then you'll really know.
7. They Sometimes Find Strange Things
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Inside bodies sometimes there are pretty gross and unexpected things found. One doctor said, “As I was running my hand along the bowel, I came upon something and said, ‘What the heck is this?’ It felt like a condom. Then all of a sudden, it wiggled! I dropped it, shocked. The guy had worms.”
8. Lots Of Surgeons Have A Financial Conflict Of Interest
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There are a lot of surgeons who face a conflict of interest between ethics and money. This is not to say they would jeopardise your health in any way. It just means that they may be more inclined to go down the surgery route rather than an alternative as it provides then with more money.
9. Most Surgeons Have A Complications Rate
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If someone has been a surgeon for a while, the likelihood is that they will have a complications rate. This does not mean that they are not competent, it means that each case is different and sometimes complications are inevitable depending on the state of the person. In fact, sometimes people think it is more worrying if they do not have one because they may be very new or may be hiding something.
10. Surgeons Sometimes Make The Wrong Incision
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The future incision is marked with a pen on the patient. And, if this pen is marked on wrongly this can lead to the wrong incision being made or an incision being made in the wrong place. This has happened before multiple times and sometimes it may be the wrong side of the body.
11. Fatigue Can Interfere With Performance
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Surgeons hours totally depend - sometimes they are needed a lot and they can work very unsociable and long hours. They may be in surgery for hours on end, and then wake up and have to do it all over again. Of course, fatigue affects performance even those who are a professional. But, it is something they learn to deal with.
12. Surgeons Are All About Control
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Surgeons sometimes call themselves control freaks. Paul Ruggeri who is the author of Confessions of a Surgeon: The Good, the Bad, and the Complicated, said “When things don’t go our way in the operating room, we can have outbursts. Some of us curse, some throw instruments, others have tantrums.”
13. It’s Better To Have Surgery Early In The Week
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Lots of doctors and surgeons go away for the weekend, so it means that if you have your surgery at the end of the week, the same surgeon who operated on you may not be available if you face complications. Of course, picking your surgery date is not usually an option however.
14. Some Surgeons Make A LOT Of Money From Device Manufacturers
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Sometimes doctors make up to millions from devices from manufacturers. Sometimes the same doctors have actually performed a record number of implants for that company. Of course, this can then be an incentive to use those devices from that manufacturer which may not always be the best option.
15. Death Really Affects Them
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Some people are under the perception that surgeons get so used to dealing with death that it no longer affects them or they are able to shrug it off. This is not the case. Surgeons who experience death with their surgery are very much affected and feel loss for their family who are waiting for them.
16. Some Surgeons Won’t Mention Operations They Don’t Know How To Perform
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This means that if you need surgery, the surgeon might suggest a surgery which, they can personally complete. Yet, there potentially may be another way to do it which would be better, however, if they do not know how to perform it personally then they will not suggest it as an option.
17. They Can Switch States And Get A New License
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So in the U.S, a surgeon may receive a penalty for example a D.U.I but if they switch states then they could get a license there and potentially be performing a surgery a day after. Sometimes the background check is not always completed due to it taking time and 10 dollars per check.
18. Don’t Always Take Your Primary Care Doctor’s First Recommendation
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Even when your primary care doctor gives a recommendation doesn't always mean it may be the best choice for you. Referrals may possibly be motivated for different reasons such as doctors working within the same multi-specialty group. A second opinion is always good.
19. Sometimes They Don't Inform You About Side Effects
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Sometimes you will be recommended a surgery and the surgeon will carry it out but they often do not inform the patient of potential side effects. It's a very good idea if you are considering surgery to ask about any side effects that may happen as a result of the surgery if the surgery may not be totally necessary and their are other options.
20. Go To Your Pre-Op Appointment With A Family Member
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Many people suggest that you should attend your pre-op appointment with a family member if possible. The reason behind their thinking is that you may receive better care and treat you as someone with loved ones rather than someone to merely operate on.
21. The Most Stressful Thing For A Surgeon Is A Non-Compliant Patient
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Not only does a surgeon get stressed for potential complications during surgery but another thing that weighs on their mind is when they have a patient who does not comply. This is when a surgeon has recommended a certain treatment in their best interest or perhaps suggested a method of after-care after the operation - and the patient ignores them.
22. Obesity Makes Things More Difficult For The Surgeon
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It is not something that a surgeon will openly discuss, the fact that it is harder to operate on patients who are largely overweight or obese. This is for a variety of reasons including the fact that the incisions have to go deeper through more layers of fat etc.
23. They Love receiving Thank You Letters
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This is often something that people don't bother to do because they are under the impression that the surgeon will have so many patients that they perhaps don't have time for letters. Wrong. Surgeons love receiving grateful letters which make them feel appreciated.
24. They Truly Care
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This point is along similar lines. Some people think that operations, saving lives, and performing complex procedures is just something they take as part of the job. But they do truly care about each individual case and patient and their well-being and health.
25. Some Surgeons Have Been Found Taking Pictures
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Now, this is not common. Most surgeons have integrity and respect for their patient but there are cases where some surgeons have been found taking pictures of their patient while they are unconscious on the operating table, merely for their own amusement.
26. Question If You Need A Stent
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Having a stent is an amazing thing which, can save lives. But that being said, it is sometimes not the only option. There are some instances where medication would also work. Because having a stent is having a foreign substance permanently implanted in your body which comes with some risks too.
27. They Are Not Always Board Certified In Their Speciality
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Maybe just ask this question once you have been assigned a surgeon to double check that they are board certified in the speciality. Because sometimes they are not. Again, this depends on the country and place as to the rules and how they are applied.
28. People Lie To Them
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For some reason, people lie to their surgeons even though it is going to become crystal clear as soon as they operate. So, it's much better that they know the truth before operating. For example, some people are embarrassed to say they have had plastic surgery for example lip suction. But, it means the surgeon has to go about things differently so they prefer to know the truth.
29. They're Scared Of Being Sued
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Surgeons are scared of being sued. Being in such a high-pressure job with so much responsibility means that a lot can go wrong. And, it means that complaints are serious. So, surgeons are fully aware that someone may try and sue them for a lot of money making them hyper-aware and scared of the risks.
30. Instruments Have Been Left Inside The Body
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Okay, this is not a frequent thing. But there have been claims where surgeons are performing an operation and they misplace an instrument during the stressful situation which is operating. And...they have actually ended up inside the body some have claimed.
31. Hospital Employees Know Best Who Is A Good Doctor And Who Isn’t
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When you’re having surgery, you might automatically want the one who has the most impressive degrees or the biggest titles. But it’s hospital employees who know the ins and outs of who’s truly a good doctor or not, no matter what a degree says.
32. Surgeons May Say You Need Surgery Right Away – Even If You Don’t
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Surgeons will usually push for surgery to be performed straight away, even if an operation isn’t urgent. That’s because they worry about the risk of letting you leave and then something going wrong, and questions then raised about why surgery wasn’t immediately performed.
33. As Well As Asking What The Problem Is, You Should Problem Question How Fixing It Will Actually Help
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When you have questions for your surgeon, the most obvious one will be asking what’s wrong. But you should also question how surgery and fixing the problem will actually help. This is because, oftentimes, there might be a problem but fixing it might not actually be needed.
34. Teaching Hospitals Are The Best For Serious Conditions
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When you think of a teaching hospital, you might think you don’t want to risk being attended to by people still learning, but teaching hospitals are actually the best for treatment. That’s because you’ll get the latest treatment methods, as well as resident doctors being on hand 24/7 and surgeons always on call.
35. Giving Yourself Time To Heal Isn’t Something To Just Dismiss
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We’re all guilty of it: ‘Oh I’ve been resting long enough, I’m fine, I’ll go back to work early’. But one of the biggest mistakes during surgery recovery is not giving yourself the correct amount of time to heal. This can lead to complications.
36. Pre-Op And Post-Op Details Are Just As Important
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Surgeons get faced with question after question about the actual surgery itself and what’s going to happen, but the same amount of detail isn’t usually asked about the pre-op and post-op. But these are just as important, and should be asked about.
37. They Can Recommend Great Products To Reduce Scarring
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Surgeons might recommend products like ScarEase, Scarguard and Mederma for reducing the appearance of scarring after surgery. You can apply daily as soon as the wound is healed, and you can also use sunscreen with zinc oxide to protect the wound for at least six months after surgery.
38. Doctors Are Aware Of Other Doctors They Deem ‘Too Dangerous’ To Be Working
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According to one doctor source, they always ask during a national conference of doctors if anyone knows of another doctor who they believe shouldn’t be practising medicine because they’re too dangerous – and every hand goes up.
39. Surgeons Might Go To Operate On The Body The Wrong Way Round
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One surgeon reports that they went to operate on the back of a patient’s knee instead of the front before they realised their mistake! It just shows the easy mistakes that can be made, even when wide awake.
40. Some Surgeons May Pray For Their Patients During Their Own Personal Time
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A lot of patients might think that their doctors don’t care. But some surgeons not only care, but they pray for their patients, too. One surgeon even noted that his whole family pray for his patients during dinner if it’s a night before surgery.
41. Surgeons Can Often Get Depressed
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A lot of the time doctors can be dismissed as neutral, professional or maybe even lacking emotion when they have a job to do. But when patients die in the operating theaters, surgeons can be plagued with thoughts about their death, their family and succumb to depression, too.
42. You Might Get The More Expensive Medical Device Just Because Your Surgeon Has A Financial Relationship With The Supplier
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You’d like to think that with medical bills, you’ll always get recommended the most suitable option, and hopefully the cheapest. But nope. If your surgeon has financial incentive with the vendor of a particular device, even if it’s not the most suitable or it’s the most expensive, then they’ll probably recommend that one.
43. Too Many Questions = Pain In The Ar*e
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You have a right to ask questions, but apparently there’s a limit before a surgeon can be 100% done with speaking with you. This counts for relatives of the patient, too. If their constantly bombarding the doctor with questions every time they enter a room, they might start avoiding going into the room.
44. Every Surgery Can Carry The Risk Of A Blood Clot
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Pretty much every surgery, no matter what it is, carries the risk of a blood clot forming as a result. The key sign to look for is pain, swelling or a red appearance in your calf after you’ve had surgery – you should then called your doctor straight away.
45. You Don’t Have To Make An Immediate Decision About Prostate Cancer Surgery
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It’s understandable if you panic and think the sooner the better when it comes to surgery, but for prostate cancer, there’s actually no immediate rush. It can be slow-growing, so you have time to think about it before you make the surgery decision.
46. A Monotone Voice From A Surgeon May Mean Trouble In The Operating Room
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If a surgeon suddenly has a lifeless voice with monotone P’s and Q’s, it can be an indication to the other staff in the room that something has gone wrong. The monotone mentality can be a tool to try and keep calm. But of course if everyone then realises being monotone means something’s wrong, maybe they’ll panic anyway!
47. Surgeons Might Actually Fall Asleep – In The Middle Of A Procedure
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It’s no secret that doctors and surgeons are very tired working long hours. But one surgical intern admitted they actually nodded off for a moment in the middle of stitching up a leg wound. Yikes.
48. They Like To Hear What You Have To Say Under The Influence Of Anesthesia
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As if surgery wasn’t mortifying enough, you then have to worry about babbling your innermost secrets to a room full of medical staff who are all to eager to hear what you have to say. Of course, most of it will be nonsense, but that doesn’t make it any less entertaining.
49. Residents Learning How To Operate Might Not Always Have An Attending Physician Next To Them
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It’s somewhat of a comfort to think that those doctors who are still learning do have an attending physician there to make sure they’re doing everything right. But ‘present’ doesn’t always mean right next to them. They might just be in the vicinity, checking in every hour.
50. You Or Your Family Could Donate Blood For Your Own Surgery – And It’s Encouraged
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For elective surgery, you might want to see if a family member wouldn’t mind donating blood. You can talk to your doctor about this option – or about donating blood yourself – because blood stored in banks for patients can often be rejected or reacted to negatively by your body. Your family’s blood – or your own – is a safer option.