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Follow up of surgical patients and legal medicine


Walker, SR, Follow up of surgical patients and legal medicine, Legal and Forensic Medicine, Springer, RG Beran (ed), Germany, pp. 1299-1308. ISBN 9783642323379 (2013) [Research Book Chapter]

Copyright Statement

Copyright 2013 Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg

DOI: doi:10.1007/978-3-642-32338-6_72


Background: It has become part of the culture and, for some, an expectation that all patients will be followed up by their surgeon following routine surgery. This chapter assesses the current policies in Australian public hospitals regarding follow-up of surgical patients and discusses the issues involved.

Method: A postal questionnaire was sent to surgical directors in 40 public hospitals in Australia. They were asked a series of questions concerning follow-up of surgical patients across a broad spectrum of specialties.

Results: The response rate was 47.5 %. Only one hospital had a formal written policy on follow-up of surgical patients. There was a discrepancy between what the responders felt as a clinical director and what they felt as a clinician, when asked about routine follow-up of patients. As directors, most reported that most, if not all, patients should have surgical follow-up, whereas as clinicians, there were variable responses as to the clinical necessity for follow-up. There was agreement that some procedures mandated follow-up, such as total hip replacement, but there were some procedures where opinion was mixed, such as child circumcision.

Conclusion: There appears to be a trend toward individual clinicians questioning the value of routine postoperative follow-up for all patients. Lawyers need to acknowledge that this area is now subject to change in practice and might no longer be readily used as evidence of deficiency.

Item Details

Item Type:Research Book Chapter
Research Division:Biomedical and Clinical Sciences
Research Group:Clinical sciences
Research Field:Surgery
Objective Division:Expanding Knowledge
Objective Group:Expanding knowledge
Objective Field:Expanding knowledge in the health sciences
UTAS Author:Walker, SR (Dr Stuart Walker)
ID Code:119459
Year Published:2013
Deposited By:Medicine
Deposited On:2017-08-01
Last Modified:2017-11-06

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