The skill and professionalism of a surgeon is one of those things that one rarely considers until it's time to go under the knife. After all, aren't most surgeons good at their jobs? In general, yes, most surgeons are good at their jobs, but they are also human beings who make mistakes. Some of them, unfortunately, make more frequent and more dangerous mistakes than others.
Surgeons are hard working, intelligent individuals, but not infallible. While human fallibility affects every industry, it's hard to imagine a more invasive, personal way that someone else's mistake could harm you or someone you love than the mistakes of a surgeon. It certainly makes sense to do some homework on the person charged with opening you up, to make sure you can trust them.
Put your mind at ease before the surgery
You can save yourself some potential heartache and put your mind at ease by asking some pointed questions to your surgeon before the surgery. There's no reason to be afraid or feel awkward -- it's their job to have honest helpful answers to your questions.
Ultimately, you want to do everything you can to avoid a surgical error or infection after the fact. If you do suffer harm from a surgical error, don't hesitate to reach out to an attorney who can help you seek fair compensation.
You can ease into the matter by simply asking about the surgeon's experience. As the surgeon explains his or her experience, you want to also ask about how many times he or she has performed the specific surgery you need, and how long ago the last surgery was. You should also ask how many of the surgeries his or her colleagues regularly perform, to see if the figures are similar. You may have good reason for concern if the surgeon has not performed the surgery recently or performs it less frequently than other peers.
It is generally wise to seek out a surgeon with up-to-date board certification. This generally means that they are mindful of staying on top of changing guidelines surrounding their practice specialty.
Inquire into success rate
You should also ask about the surgeon's success rate, complication rate and failure rate. Very few surgeons have spotless records, but it is helpful to get a feel for how skilled they are in their field. If a surgeon cannot answer this question or seems reluctant to give you this information, it is cause for concern.
Similarly, you should ask about the infection rate of the hospital where the surgery may take place. Even if your surgeon is very talented, recovering in a hospital with questionable infection rates is rarely a good idea.