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Go to your preoperative appointment with a family member

Go to your preoperative appointment with a family member
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“That reminds your doctor you’re not a gallbladder or a bypass or a valve – you’re a person who’s part of a family.”  – Marc Gillinov, MD.

Find out who your anaesthetist will be

Find out who your anaesthetist will be
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“That’s just as important. Ask ‘Who’s going to be putting me to sleep?’ or ask me who I think the best anaesthesiologist is. In some hospitals, you can request that person.” – General surgeon who blogs under the name Skeptical Scalpel

Use three different doctors, get three different answers

Use three different doctors, get three different answers
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“Years ago, a patient sent his slides to three different pathologists and got three different answers. I got very upset on hearing that. Now I never rely on just one pathology exam. If your doctor finds something, ask him to send your slides to a nationally recognised reference lab – not just one or two slides but the whole lot – and get a second interpretation.” —Bert Vorstman, MD, a prostate cancer specialist.

Risks on legal consent forms don't worry us

Risks on legal consent forms don't worry us
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“Or, there may be one complication we’re really concerned about. If you truly want to understand the dangers, ask your surgeon, ‘What is the risk that gives you the most pause?’” – Kevin B. Jones, MD, author of What Doctors Cannot Tell You: Clarity, Confidence and Uncertainty in Medicine

Surgeons are control freaks

Surgeons are control freaks
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“When things don’t go our way in the operating room, we can have outbursts. Some of us curse, some throw instruments, others have tantrums.” – Paul Ruggieri, MD, author of Confessions of a Surgeon: The Good, the Bad, and the Complicated … Life Behind the O.R. Doors

Mistakes are probably more common than you would think

Mistakes are probably more common than you would think
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“But most of them don’t actually hurt people. I work with residents, and I don’t let them do anything that I can’t fix if they screw it up. If there’s an error that I fix that I’m sure won’t affect the patient at all, I’m not going to say anything about it. That would accomplish nothing except to stress out the patient.” – An orthopaedic surgeon

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Some problems just don’t fix well with surgery

Some problems just don’t fix well with surgery
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“My advice? Grin and bear it. Some surgeons vehemently disagree. They say, ‘Oh, you have a degenerative disk, and that must be the culprit. Let’s fix it.’ But many people have a degenerative disk with no pain. There isn’t a lot of evidence that we’re helping very many people.” – Kevin B. Jones, MD

Always ask about nonsurgical options

Always ask about nonsurgical options
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“Surgeons are busy, and they like to operate. A professor from my residency would say, ‘There is nothing more dangerous than a surgeon with an open operating room and a mortgage to pay.’” – Kevin B. Jones, MD

Talk to your doctor about donating your blood

Talk to your doctor about donating your blood
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“Banked blood is a foreign substance, like an organ, and your body can potentially react adversely. If you can use your own blood or blood from your family, there’s less chance of those reactions.” – Kathy Magliato, MD, cardiothoracic surgeon.

Residents have to learn how to operate

Residents have to learn how to operate
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“When residents are learning how to operate, it’s required that an attending physician be ‘present’. But ‘present’ doesn’t mean he has to be in the operating room scrubbed in. At an academic institution, ask whether your surgeon will be actively participating in the surgery or just checking in every hour.” – Ezriel “Ed” Kornel, MD

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