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Helping surgeons learn in Oklahoma hospitals

When evaluating a surgeon, an objective system is preferred by residents as well as those who train them. With an objective checklist, residents know what is expected of them as well as that they have the skills needed to be a safe and effective surgeon. At Johns Hopkins School of Medicine, residents are evaluated based on the Objective Structured Assessment of Technical Skills.

It is a system that is widely known and implemented, but it is one that has flaws according to one professor at the school. For example, students are awarded points for what they do right while simply getting a zero if they miss a step or fail to adequately complete an objective on the list. In a study, 23 residents were evaluated on their work performing shoulder surgery on cadavers using the OSATS as well as the Global Rating Scale and a simple pass/fail system.

The study found that the pass/fail system was good in telling residents in no uncertain terms how they did on the procedure. The OSATS and the Global Rating Scale were both noted for the objective feedback they provided. However, none of the systems adequately reflected when mistakes were made. Overall, 11 critical errors were made with nine of them made by first or second-year residents.

Poorly-trained surgeons may end up making mistakes such as wrong-site surgery. This could cause lasting harm to a patient, including a worsened medical condition. A medical malpractice attorney can often be of assistance in seeking compensation on behalf of a patient who has been the victim of such an error by filing a lawsuit against the negligent practitioner.