New research shows that surgeons who have complaints pending against them from their coworkers for unprofessional conduct have an increased risk of attracting complications either during or after surgery. Data of over 13500 adult surgery patients were examined in the US, who had been operated upon by over 202 surgeons during 2012-2016.
Surgeons with unprofessional behavior complaints against them had their patients have more chances of complications like heart attack, stroke, kidney failure, pneumonia, and blood clots. Unprofessional behavior definition included disrespectful communication, failure on professional responsibilities, adopting unsafe or poor operating room practices or refusing to sign verbal orders.
Surgical teams have a requirement of putting up the maximum performance possible by their team members. Dr. Cooper, the study’s lead author who works at VUMC, stated that he was trying to see if unprofessional behaviors by surgeons could cause adverse outcomes, threaten teamwork or undermine culture.
Those with 1-3 such allegations against them had 18% higher probability of their patients developing complications compared to those without, while those exceeding 4 such complaints had a 32% enhanced probability of their patients having complications.
Only an association was observed with no proven cause & effect.
Death rates, the requirement for another operation and re-admission within thirty days of operation statistics remained relatively unchanged though, as per their findings.
They also discovered that female surgeons had a lower probability of getting reported for their unprofessional conduct when compared with male surgeons.
When unprofessionalism is rampant among the team members, the team’s efficiency rates begin to fall, stated Dr. Hickson, the study’s senior author, and a professor at Vanderbilt, Tenn. He said it was a matter of mere common sense. If a person was being disrespectful towards another, the chances of sharing information or asking for help or advice from that person drop to lower rates.
The researchers suggested that future researches should assess where improved doctor interaction with coworkers, patients, and families, when these doctors had been reported for unprofessional conduct in the past, helped in improving surgical outcomes of these patients.
These findings appeared in JAMA Surgery journal on June 19.
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