Researchers Suggest Ways to Improve Surgical Training

Connecticut residents may know that surgeons usually perform operations on cadavers during their training. While this type of practice may be designed to prevent mistakes being made on live patients, researchers from the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine believe that improvements could be made that would further reduce the risks of surgical errors. The results of the research were released on June 29 prior to being published in the Journal of Surgical Education.

The Johns Hopkins researchers concluded that judging competence based purely on the number of procedures performed on cadavers may not be wise as increased volume does not necessarily lead to improved skills. The study of 23 medical residents who had one to five years of experience also revealed that instructors sometimes allowed surgical mistakes to perpetuate by not providing their students with adequate feedback about the errors that they were making.

Training hospitals have access to a number of tools and assessments that can measure the motor skills of trainee surgeons. The recent study indicates that the Objective Structured Assessment of Technical Skills and the Global Rating Scale both yielded valuable feedback that could help teach prospective surgeons how to work more effectively on actual patients. These assessments were compared with the pass/fail system, which yielded little in the way of useful information but was more effective at capturing surgical errors.

When operating room staff members make errors, patients can lose their lives or be left with catastrophic injuries. While all surgical procedures involve a degree of risk, personal injury attorneys may consult with medical experts when it appears that excessive mistakes may have been made. Doctors are expected to provide treatment that meets generally accepted standards of medical care, and experts could analyze hospital records to determine whether or not these standards were followed.

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