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Most Patients Want Experienced Surgeons, Not Trainees
Date:9/23/2011

FRIDAY, Sept. 23 (HealthDay News) -- Hospital patients want to know whether medical trainees are participating in their surgery, according to a new study.

Researchers found that although most patients would allow residents and medical students to be involved in their operation, rates of consent vary depending on the type of surgery and the trainee's level of participation. The findings, they concluded, could have a significant impact on teaching programs.

"Currently, no widely accepted guidelines or policies exist for providing information regarding the role of surgical trainees to the patient during the informed consent process," the authors wrote. "The accepted standard is to provide information that 'a reasonable patient' would want and would need to know to make an informed decision, but this counseling may vary widely by health care professional, setting, and type of surgical procedure."

In conducting the study, researchers from Madigan Army Health System in Tacoma, Washington analyzed anonymous surveys from 316 patients to find out how they felt about surgical resident education and training programs.

The study, published online Sept. 19 in the Archives of Surgery, found most patients did not care if they were treated in a private hospital or a teaching one. The 91.2 percent of the patients who said they had a preference in where they were treated said they believed the care they would receive in a teaching hospital would be just as good or better than that in a private hospital.

Despite being supportive of teaching facilities, the vast majority of patients said they wanted to be informed if a trainee was going to participate in their operation, whether the procedure was considered major (95.7 percent) or minor (87.5).

Although 94 percent of the patients questioned said they would allow a surgical resident to be involved in their surgery, just 85 percent would agree to a surgical intern be
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