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Residents Performing Unsupervised Operations


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7/26/2010
Gerry Oginski
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Anyone who has been operated on or has someone close to them who has, knows that every surgery has its risks and the value of the words, “everything went well.”  Whether patients are being placed asleep with anesthesia or remain awake during the procedure, they are left in the hands of their doctor.

As with most professional careers, medicine is an industry where nothing can take the place of hands on experience.  That is why even after four years of college and two more in medical school, aspiring physicians are required to obtain hands on education.  After medical school, these students perform residencies in their field under the supervision of experienced practitioners. In residency, which may last anywhere from 3-7 years, depending on the specialty, these doctors-in-training are supposed to be supervised by the senior physicians.

The system works fairly well so long as the rules are followed.  However, a trend is emerging in which understaffed hospitals are having residents perform operations without the necessary supervision of an experienced doctor.  The risks that such a situation can create can be deadly.  

A recent lawsuit filed in Illinois illustrates these dangers.  A medical center and several of its doctors are accused of having medical students or residents perform operations without supervision and sometimes in an entirely different building than their supervising doctor.  

The risk is exacerbated by the increasing demands being placed on doctors to be in two places at once.  Doctors are thus tempted to have one resident perform a procedure while the doctor is overseeing another.  Having residents perform operations without supervision means more surgeries can be performed and the doctors practice can be more profitable.  

The unfortunate reality is that the majority of medical mistakes are made by new doctors and medical students.  This is especially true in the early summer months when senior residents graduate and new residents start their training. This is just simply a cost of training the next generation of doctors.  However, when experienced doctors begin cutting corners and having their residents do work without supervision, the risk becomes too great.

To learn more about how these cases work, I encourage you to explore my website http://www.oginski-law.com. If you have legal questions, and I urge you to pick up the phone and call me at 516-487-8207 or by e-mail at [email protected] I welcome your call.




Category: Medical Malpractice


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