Too many patients requiring complex surgery are suffering the devastating consequences of medical malpractice committed by inexperienced surgeons who negligently performed the surgery. Some medical experts believe that there should be some type of legal way to prevent patients from undergoing high risk surgeries with inexperienced surgeons in hospitals that handle a low volume of patients. In a recent article in the Washington Post, Sandra G. Boodman writes about a long-running battle known as the volume-outcome debate among medical experts. This debate was recently re-activated by the decision of John Hopkins, Dartmouth-Hitchcock and University of Michigan to require surgeons practicing specific types of high risk surgery to meet an annual threshold to be able to perform the procedure. In her article Boodman takes the example of a pancreatic cancer patient who suffered a botched Whipple surgery after an inexperience surgeon convinced him she could do it. The patient had to undergo another surgery where a surgeon specializing in Whipple surgery successfully treated him. Boodman also refers to several studies demonstrating that in cases of complex procedures patients undergoing surgery at hospitals with a high volume of these types of surgeries had a much lesser risk to die than those in hospitals performing a low volume of the same procedures. The author also discusses the difficulty for patients to find information about how many times the surgeon performed the risky procedure and what is his or her success rate is.
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