You know the importance of doing some research on your surgeon before you schedule your operation. How long have they been performing this type of surgery? How many times have they done it? What’s their success rate? Do they have any malpractice settlements or judgments? Have they ever been disciplined by any state medical board?
Here’s a question you probably hadn’t considered. When is their birthday? According to the results of a recently released study, you might want to avoid that day if you can.
The study, which was published this month in a British medical journal, found that surgical patients were more likely to have a fatal outcome in the month following their operation if the surgeon operated on their birthday.
More about the study
Researchers analyzed data for close to a million emergency surgeries on people who were 65 or older. The surgeries, performed between 2011 and 2014, were done by approximately 48,000 surgeons.
Just .2% of the operations were done on the surgeons’ birthdays. However, in the month following the surgeries, 6.9% of those patients died, as opposed to 5.6% of the patients who didn’t go under the knife on their surgeon’s birthday. That’s a 23% difference.
The limitations of the findings
The study was a limited one, to be sure. Further, researchers didn’t look at the specific reasons for the deaths. One researcher, who is a professor at the David Geffen School of Medicine at the University of California, Los Angeles, noted that while the study “was the first to show the association between a surgeon’s birthday and patient mortality…further research is needed before we make a conclusion that birthdays indeed have a meaningful impact on surgeons’ performance.” He added that “at this point, given that evidence is still limited, I don’t think patients need to avoid a surgical procedure on the surgeon’s birthday.”
While surgeons and other medical professionals might be distracted on their birthdays, things could be worse the day after if they’ve had a night of celebrating. Of course, surgeons can be distracted by any number of things going on in their lives of which their patients are unaware.
If you or a loved one has been harmed by a doctor’s negligence or actions, it may be wise to talk with an attorney to determine your next move.