Edwards & Kautz
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Surgeons' non-technical skills affect rate of surgical errors

At the 2019 Cataract Surgery: Telling It Like It Is meeting was an international guest of honor, a doctor from Moorfields Eye Hospital in London. According to him, up to 45 percent of adverse medical events involve surgery patients, and anywhere from 35 to 66 percent of these surgery-related events take place in the operating room. Kentucky residents should know that surgeons, in order to avoid such events, require not only technical skills but also certain non-technical skills.

The qualities of a good surgeon include ambition, ability, aptitude and attitude. In addition, the surgeon should ideally have adaptability and humility. The first means being able to react properly under pressure and make the right decisions. This requires certain cognitive skills like the ability to gather information on one's surroundings and assessing a given situation. The second means being able to admit failure or admit that one does not know an answer to a question.

One way that surgeons can learn cognitive skills is through a system similar to a flight simulator for pilots. One such simulator system has been developed by VRmagic for cataract and vitrectomy surgeries, called Eyesi Surgical, and this allows surgeons to perform procedures in both dry and wet lab virtual environments.

These are important things to remember because surgeons can commit errors not so much through lack of expertise as through lack of patience or calm. In the event that surgical patients are injured through this type of negligence, they may be able to file a claim under medical malpractice law.

It may be advisable to request a case evaluation from a lawyer. A medical malpractice attorney may have a network of professionals, including investigators, to assist in building up the case, and the attorney may handle all settlement negotiations. If a settlement cannot be achieved, victims might consider litigation.

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Edwards & Kautz

Edwards & Kautz
222 Walter Jetton Blvd
Paducah, KY 42003

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