After a routine physical with your doctor, you have been advised to undergo outpatient surgery. Medical professionals have assured you that your surgery is “routine” and “simple” and you’ll be going home within a couple hours after the procedure. Too many times, though, what is supposed to be routine, outpatient surgery becomes a medical and legal nightmare. To avoid becoming part of medical complications or even negligence, here are some important questions you should ask before agreeing to go under the knife.
What are my options?
This may be the single most important question you can ask your doctor. Are there alternatives to undergoing this procedure, or is having surgery the best possible way to correct your health problem? Knowing what your options are could help you determine how to proceed. The basic issues surrounding medical malpractice cases is negligence. One medical malpractice lawyer in New York says, “According to a 2012 article in the New York Times as many as 200,000 people die every year because of preventable medical mistakes”.
What is the surgeon’s experience with this particular operation?
You wouldn’t let an inexperienced mechanic fix your car, or an unlicensed dentist fill a cavity in your tooth, so find out all you can about your doctor’s or surgeon’s experience before you allow him to perform an operation on your body. How many years has he been practicing? How often does she perform this type of surgery? What has been the outcome? Has he ever had a patient experience adverse circumstances as a direct result of the surgery? The more you know about his or her background, the more confident you will feel that you are choosing the best possible professional for the job.
When a doctor is confident in the advice he or she is giving you, he or she will have no problem telling you to get a second opinion. A second – or, even third – opinion from a medical professional will also help you feel more confident that you are making the right decision. Additionally, consulting with another medical professional may bring to light options or considerations the first doctor may have overlooked or not known about.
What can you expect during recovery?
Ask your physician what the recovery time is for your specific procedure. Will you have to miss work? Will you need help with daily tasks such as bathing, dressing, or mobility as you recover and heal? The more you know about the level of pain you might experience and any other special circumstances you may need to consider after your surgery may also help you make a well informed decision.
Remember, if you are faced with an upcoming surgical procedure, there is no such thing as asking too many questions. The more you know ahead of time, the more confident and prepared you will feel for the entire process from pre-operative to post-operative care and everything in between. If your doctor appears agitated or unwilling to answer questions to your complete satisfaction, you may want to consider consulting with a different doctor. It is your health and your life. When it comes to surgery, be as proactive as you can for the most favorable outcome.
Former Journalist, Nicole Bailey-Covin has covered many stories involving medical malpractice and even taken part in attorney led focus groups centering around possible malpractice cases. Nicole says the key to peace of mind is to be armed with knowledge about any possible medical procedures and ask questions. If facing any kind of medical procedure, search medical malpractice lawyer in New York or any legal expert in your region. Your life is too valuable to take outpatient surgery lightly.