Having undergone an appendectomy myself, I have a fairly good idea of the fears a patient might have. In case of an emergency, you don’t have much of a choice on who should treat you. But in the case of a planned surgery, you can take your time and choose your surgeon wisely.
What Are the Factors to Consider While Choosing a Surgeon?
These are a few things that I would suggest:
- Compassion & empathy
If even one of the above is missing, I would reconsider being treated by that surgeon. Qualification is a very basic necessity. It gives the surgeon the necessary skills to operate on a patient. Experience in doing a particular surgery ensures positive clinical outcomes. Therefore, qualification and experience cover the professional aspects of what I would expect of a surgeon.
On the personal front, ethics, compassion and empathy are a must for any surgeon. Ill health and treatment are very personal and emotional to a patient. However skilled a surgeon may be, he/she can gain the confidence of a patient only through ethical practice, compassion and empathy.
A patient needs to do the following background work before surgery:
- Gather enough information about the doctor – ask friends, family and trusted family physicians – word of mouth is the best way to gather information.
- Find out the doctor’s qualifications and experience – you could get information from the internet, from the hospital or from the surgeons themselves.
The Questions to Ask Your Surgeon
- Is it absolutely necessary to undergo this procedure? Are there any other options?
- How many such procedures have been performed by the doctor in the past and how the experience has been?
- What are the possible complications that may occur?
- How will the recovery period be?
- Is it possible to talk to former patients who have undergone similar surgeries?
- What are the implants that will be used, if any?
Having a Friend or Family Member with You Is Always Helpful
When you meet the surgeon, take a trustworthy and sensible family member/friend with you. A second mind will always help in clearing doubts and arriving at decisions. They will also serve as moral support.
If possible, meet the surgeon a second time with a list of doubts. Get them cleared.
Arriving at a Decision
If, after all this, you walk out of the surgeon’s office with reasonable answers to most of your questions, happy to be in his/her care, you have met the right surgeon. Go ahead – place your trust in him/her and get the procedure done. All will be well.
Taken from the personal blog of Mr. Zakariah Ahmed.