Physician Son to his Mother…….


A hospital is always a dangerous place to be. Mostly because you came because something is wrong with you. In the discussions I have with my mother about working in a hospital I always warn her to stay out as long as possible. In The Netherlands with a good functioning primary care help and social security this is a lot easier than in other countries. Another topic of debate is who to ask for taking care of you in a University Hospital. I always let her promise not to ask for the professor. Ask for the resident instead, I’ll tell her. The head of the department hasn’t seen patients probably for a long time and his head is busy with other things than patient care such as financial and staff problems. A resident is curious, eager to learn and caring and will do his best, the supervisor is also very good but functions on another level in those settings amongst which supervising several residents.

Luckily a recent excellent article in the New York Times backs me up. In this article the results of a recent publication in The Journal of the American College of Surgeons is discussed.

Analyzing the results of more than 600,000 operations at more than 225 hospitals across the country, researchers found that while resident involvement was indeed associated with slightly higher complication rates and longer operating times, those patients who had trainees participating in their operations also experienced decreased mortality rates.In other words, having a resident scrub in on your operation is not only safe but might also offer a bit of protection against death.

Am I right? What do you think?