A new study that explored the effect of patient complications on surgeon well-being has found that complications can adversely affect surgeons across multiple domains, with the authors recommending a number of actions to address this.
Researchers examined data from nine case series and cross-sectional studies and found that across all studies, surgeons were affected emotionally after complications, with adverse consequences in their professional and personal lives.
The authors made a number of recommendations to address this, including making self-assessment tools available for individual surgeons to objectively measure their level of distress and enable them to reach out for help if needed. They said the potential emotional consequences of complications on surgeon health must be acknowledged by senior surgeons within their departments and surgical craft groups, with provision made to discuss this part of complication management within surgical teams and departments.
The authors also recommended that training in coping and emotional resilience should begin early in medical training and be viewed as a core surgical competency.
Writing in JAMA Surgery, the authors said: “With primum non nocere remaining a cornerstone of medical practice as applied to patients, a similar philosophy needs to be embraced by the surgical community for the betterment of health of the profession.”