When assessing the ability of a surgeon, it is important to focus on encouraging proper methods. However, new research says that it may be just as important to focus on what the surgeon does wrong to stop simple mistakes from becoming long-term bad habits. The study was born from a review of the Objective Structured Assessment of Technical Skills by a professor from the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine.
The study aims to address some of the shortcomings of the assessment and modify it to better serve residents. Research was done into how modifying this checklist and providing better feedback could help with shoulder surgeries done from the front, the back and the side. The shoulder was chosen because it is a common part of the body that surgeons work on.
For the study, 23 residents conducted shoulder procedures on cadavers. They were rated using the OSATS as well as the Global Rating Scale and on a pass/fail system. No system adequately addressed 11 egregious errors committed by the residents during training. This is because pass/fail may be too general while the OSATS only awards points as opposed to deducting points. Therefore, the researchers suggested that more objective safety steps and other safeguards be added to better evaluate performance and prevent critical errors.
If an individual is hurt because of surgical errors, it may be possible to consult with an attorney and take legal action for medical malpractice. Injured patients might be entitled to compensation for medical bills as well as lost wages and future earnings. Spouses and family members may also be entitled to financial compensation for loss of consortium or loss of companionship.