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New scorecards allows patients to view surgeon quality

When people in the Houston area must have surgery, they often trust their surgeon completely and assume everything will go as planned. Usually that is the case, but sometimes a serious injury occurs because of a careless surgeon. A new service allows a patient to check out their surgeon before having them perform surgery.

A tool called Surgeon Scorecards was recently released by the nonprofit journalism group ProPublica. The tool lets patients do research on their surgeon based on a number of factors reported about their patients. These include readmissions to the hospital within 30 days or death in the hospital. The organization has evaluated nearly 17,000 surgeons who perform eight routine surgeries including hip and knee replacements between 2009 and 2013. With this information released to the public, proponents of the Surgeon Scorecards tool say it will help patients choose a better surgeon and have a better outcome with their surgery.

Even though there are many surgeries that are considered routine, they don't feel like a routine event for the patient. Making sure they have the best surgeon possible is always a good idea.

This type of tool could be a good way for patients to protect themselves in the future. It could also be necessary. Surgical errors occur more often than many people may think.

If a patient or his or her family believes their surgeon was negligent with their care they may want to speak with a legal professional skilled in medical malpractice. An attorney can review the medical records and determine what went wrong to cause the injury. Compensation may be available for unexpected medical expenses, pain and suffering, and other damages.

Source: WashingtonExaminer.com, "Surgeon scorecards could inform patients," Robert King, July 15, 2015

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