If you watched series such as E.R., you probably think of surgeons as highly experienced older professionals. So it might come as a shock to find the surgeon conducting your surgery looks more like Doogie Howser, M.D.
While experience is crucial, age is not always a good indicator of ability. Yet, a recent report shows younger surgeons do not have the same level of practice that their older colleagues did when they were young.
Practice makes perfect
Even if practicing won’t make any surgeon perfect, they need to get as much hands-on practice as possible. Pre-2003, they got a lot more. Then the authorities brought in an 80-hour workweek limit for resident doctors, reducing the amount of hands-on experience wannabe surgeons got. The counter side is that allowing resident doctors more rest has probably reduced errors made due to fatigue.
The kids of today are not the same
However ridiculous some of the arguments can be about how the younger generation is not as good as “my generation,” it may be true when it comes to surgeons.
Old school hobbies and classroom activities such as making Airfix models, embroidery or learning the piano built manual dexterity. They resulted in kids whose fingers were more capable of performing the intricate tasks that surgery requires. Hitting your thumb repeatedly on a joystick button to destroy the enemy does not achieve the same.
Is it a young surgeon’s fault they do not have the skills of their peers?
You cannot change history. Hospitals employing new surgeons need to factor in their lack of experience and dexterity. They must help them gain more experience under the supervision of experienced colleagues before letting them loose alone. If you have suffered harm during surgery due to a surgeon’s lack of judgment or skills, find out more about your options to hold someone responsible.