Thursday, October 3, 2013

Woman has a disappointing encounter with a surgeon, lacks information

On the "Ask Skeptical Scalpel" blog, read the story of a woman whose relative had a less-than-satisfactory experience with her visit to a general surgeon for an umbilical hernia.

She and her sister were left with many questions which I tried to answer.

Here is the link to that post.


artiger said...

It is so frustrating to read a patient's account of such a visit. She sounds intelligent enough for a surgeon to adequately explain the procedure details and pertinent information in 20, maybe 30 minutes. (I don't mean to sound crass, but in my corner of the world, I have a lot of patients that such a visit would take hours, and they still wouldn't have a clue.)

One thing I almost always do at the end of a preop visit is, if I detect a look of uncertainty, I ask once again if there is anything else to discuss, or if he/she would like the benefit of another opinion. It seems that another opinion is seldom requested whenever it is offered.

I agree, see another surgeon, and it shouldn't take a "hernia specialist" for this problem.

Anonymous said...

Unfortunately, this is typical of one group of surgeons here. I asked about how many years the doc was a surgeon, etc. and he got very negative with me.

I have been to another group and they're great. It all depends on the doc. Wish we all had them like you SS!

Skeptical Scalpel said...

It's always a good idea to end any visit with "Do you have any questions?" An decent general surgeon should be able to do an umbilical herniorrhaphy.

Anon, thanks.

artiger said...

Well, I was always taught that it's never a bad idea to get a second opinion. Dr. Veith offers some thoughts about this:

Skeptical Scalpel said...

Dr. Veith took a long time to say very little. I'm not sure how one could convince an uncertain patient to forgo a second opinion. And where did the term "physician trustee" come from? I have never heard of it. How does one verify that a physician trustee can be trusted?

artiger said...

Scalpel, I wasn't impressed either. Very pie in the sky, I thought. I am usually open to new ideas, but I think I'll stick with what I was taught on this one.

Libby said...

I agree with both of the physician trustee doing it in the best interest of himself or the patient/client? It just seems like an extra referring physician to me. Unless someone has literally seen/worked with a surgeon then it really is only hearsay (some of it reliable) if that surgeon is competent or not (yes reputation can be a good indicator but unless you've worked with them, it is really only hearsay). I give all professionals the benefit of competency and judge on how we get along (that includes how they treat me during visits, are they paying attention to me? Am I just a slab of meat? Do they smile? (important to me they have a sense of humour) Attention to detail?). I also go with my gut.
I DO report back to my family physician how I was treated. One response after a less than stellar visit with a specialist my FP said, "I guess that's why he was so easy to get into" (my FP was new to the city).

Skeptical Scalpel said...

Libby, thanks. Your points are spot on. It has a lot to do with how a patient feels after meeting a doctor.

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