Every patient should include questions about post-operative care in a discussion with their doctor prior to undergoing surgery.
When it comes to surgery, most people focus their attention and questions on the procedure itself and the potential injuries that could be sustained while it’s being performed. However, what happens after surgery is just as important, and every patient should include questions about post-operative care in a discussion with their doctor prior to undergoing a procedure. While the exact questions may differ depending on the type of procedure and the patient’s medical history, the list should cover at least these four main topics:
• Experience levels
Be sure to ask how many times the surgeon has performed this procedure, and what their success rate is relative to the average. However, you’ll also want to inquire into the experience levels of the attending staff, particularly the anesthesiologist. A team is only as strong as its weakest link, and you should make sure that you’re comfortable with everyone’s level of expertise.
It’s good to know how many people will be assisting the doctor, and if they have worked together before. You also have the right to know about it and ask to know them. Even if someone has a lot of experience with a procedure, they may not have worked on the same team, meaning there is more potential for miscommunication.
• Monitoring policies
Ideally, a recovery room should be staffed one-to-one with nurses to patients. Ask the center about their staffing policies and how many nurses will be on hand in the post-anesthesia care unit (PACU) versus the number of patients.
You may be given several medications, including potent painkillers which can come with potentially deadly side effects. Ask what medications you could be given after your procedure, and the dangers of each. Ask them everything pertaining to your health. After all, it’s your body we are talking about here. You must be able to ask from the staffs to get clearer view of what might go wrong after going under knife. As a Nigerian, we know it might be so frustrating sometimes as nurses wouldn’t give you time to ask them some of the questions. But please find a way to ask them as it would help you in the long run
Although it can be intimidating or even make you uncomfortable to ask these questions, a few minutes of conversation are a small price to pay for peace of mind and your personal safety. Even minor and routine surgeries are serious procedures, and you deserve to understand exactly what risks you’re taking, where they’re coming from, and the level of care you can expect.
It is an unfortunate truth that all the questions in the world can’t 100% ensure you a safe procedure. Injuries can occur even with the most conscientious attending staff. In Nigeria, i have seen a surgery gone wrong many time and the staff blame it on the patient. Just for their inability to attend to the issue on time. However, by asking these questions and investigating the record of the surgery center and staff that will be performing your procedure, you can feel confident that you’ve done your part to make sure it goes smoothly both during and after your surgery.