Medical Malpractice Attorney | Discussing Advance Directive Before Surgery

Portner & Shure Law Firm Serving Maryland, Virginia & Washington D.C.


Surgeons work their hardest to ensure a successful outcome after an operation. Despite these efforts, it cannot change the fact that some surgeries are high-risk and pose a serious jeopardy for patients. With this, a new study by the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality has discovered that advance directive discussions are not routine with surgeons. Advance directives are instructions that patients provide that specify what actions should be taken on their behalf with regard to their health if they are incapacitated or unable to do so.

A survey of 2,100 randomly selected surgeons in the fields of vascular surgery, neurosurgery, and cardiothoracic surgery, all fields in which surgeons regularly perform high-risk operations, found that about 52 percent of surgeons discussed advance directives before surgery. Furthermore, it was discovered that 54 percent would not operate if the advance directives interfere or limited life-supporting therapy.

What does this mean for patients? If you are about to undergo surgery of any kind, it is important that you doctor clearly understands your wishes in the unfortunate event that you are unable to give directions of your own.

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