June 19, 2019

Coworker reports of unprofessional behavior by surgeons linked to complications in their patients

By: Judy Mathias
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Editor’s Note

Patients whose surgeons had more coworker reports about unprofessional behavior in the 36 months before their surgical procedures had a significantly increased risk of complications, this study finds.

In this analysis of 13,653 patients having surgical procedures performed by 202 surgeons in two academic medical centers, 1,583 (11.6%) experienced a complication, including 825 surgical (6.0%) and 1,070 medical (7.8%). Patients whose surgeons had high numbers of coworker reports of unprofessional behavior were significantly more likely to experience any complication, any surgical complication, or any medical complication.

The adjusted complication rate was 14.3% higher for patients whose surgeons had 1 to 3 reports and 11.9% higher for surgeons with 4 or more reports, compared with patients whose surgeons had no reports.

To ensure optimal patient outcomes, organizations should address surgeons whose behavior toward other professionals may increase patients’ risk for errors and complications, the researchers say.

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