Tag Archive for ‘surgical complications’

Annual RAS-ACS essay contest: Dealing with surgical complications

Each year, the Communications Committee of the RAS-ACS selects a topic of broad interest to young surgeons and solicits brief essays from interested members on the subject. This year’s topic—How Surgeons Deal with Complications—generated a robust response from RAS-ACS membership.

Responding to, reflecting on, and moving forward from a surgical complication

Complications related to a stapled right gastroepiploic pedicle are the focus of this resident’s essay that urges surgeons to be transparent with patients and colleagues, reflect on errors, and forgive themselves.

Talk it out, and slow it down

Discussing reactions to cases involving surgical complications should not leave surgeons feeling embarrassed or denigrated, according to the author of this essay, who urges surgeons to express their feelings to achieve understanding and self-awareness.

Mea maxima culpa—Dealing with surgical complications

How surgeons conduct themselves when confronted with the reality of an undesirable surgery-related event is the focus of this essay. With each of these events, notes the author “rests an opportunity for the surgeon to be inquisitive, to be transparent, to be introspective, and to learn from the moment at hand.”


This essay brings to life the emotional responses involved with surgical complications, both on the part of the surgeon and the family.

Complications are shared experiences

Surgeons have a complex relationship with their patients, one marked by the common goal of a positive outcome, observes the author of this essay, and when failures occur, surgeons and patients are urged to grieve and rebound together.

Figure 1. Adverse outcomes

Symptoms of normal recovery or complication: The risks of postoperative care

Although patients are exposed to many risks in the preoperative phase of care (diagnosis and treatment selection) and during a procedure, the authors of this article found that some of the most dangerous risks exist in the postoperative stage. This article focuses on claims against surgeons that arose from care provided in the postoperative period, explores the causes and effects of postoperative complications, and describes lessons learned from the study and offers recommendations on steps to take to avoid unnecessary litigation.


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