Is Surgery Always The Best Option?

On 26 November 2018 after reading the ABC investigative piece concerning the Impact of Defective Medical Devices in Australia, I posted on Don Cameron and Associates website the following comment:

“…The scale and nature of adverse medical outcomes that Australians have suffered who have received medical devices to “treat” medical and surgical conditions has been exposed by the ABC.

Medical device manufacturers have manipulated data and clinical trial results for over 30 years. Misleading information has been provided to the health profession and in turn patients have been advised falsely as to the efficacy and safety of the products.

Unfortunately there have been many doctors who have been genuinely mislead by medical manufactures, others have just ignored the reality that these products are dangerous and placed patients safety at jeopardy. A small percentage of such doctors have received pecuniary benefits from the medical manufacturers…”

The full text of my comment can be found here:

Today the ABC’s reportage continues- Hernia mesh concerns grow among men as more patients report surgery complications.

Mr Russell featured in the story has been quoted as saying: “The best way to describe it is a razor blades are in my groin”

Of particular interest to me is what was raised by Associate Professor Ibrahim of the Hernia Institute of Australia was ‘is this type of surgery always really necessary’?

He questions whether over diagnosis has occurred. He quotes that 50,000 groin surgeries are performed each year.

This is elective surgery and all patients should question whether the benefits of surgery outweigh the risks, otherwise reconsider the surgery.

Medical negligence claims can be issued in circumstances where it can be established via expert evidence that surgery was unnecessary as it had no real therapeutic benefit to the patient.

Were conservative treatments such as weight reduction or other noninvasive treatments worth trying before surgery is embarked upon?

Medical Professionals should realise that often their clients are unsophisticated in relation to understanding medical advice and recommendations. This raises a duty of care to ensure that patients are given appropriate information before they consent to surgery.

This duty is further heightened where acceptance of an action carries significant risks. Failure to do this raise suspicion of capture “by the twin traps of over-treatment and therapeutic nihilism. (1)

(1) from “The Hippocratic Oath Today” Louis Lasagna, Academic Dean of the School of Medicine at Tufts University

– Reproduced from Kate Williams, Medical Law Consultant