How important is board certification for surgeons?

According to a study found in the journal Surgery, surgical errors occur at least 4,000 times every year. This number excludes near misses, where doctors or other medical personnel discover an error before it has the chance to injure a patient. The true rate of these errors, often known as never events in the medical community because they should never, under any circumstances occur, is likely much higher. 

These alarmingly high rates of medical mistakes in the operating room highlight how important it is for patients to receive care from only the most competent surgeons. A medical malpractice attorney in Chicago understands that it may be the only way for patients to prevent themselves from becoming one among thousands who have become victims of medical error. 

Board certification

The most common way to ensure that a doctor is fully versed in their professed area of medicine is to seek out the care of board certified surgeons. According to the American Board of Medical Specialties, when doctors graduate from medical school, they must go through a residency and then receive their license from the state in which they work. For those who wish to become board certified, the tests continue in a voluntary process that is dependent upon doctor type and the level of certification that doctors desire.

To become certified by the American Board of Surgery, doctors must have undergone a set number of years of schooling and residency and then pass stringent written and oral tests. The ABS also offers secondary certifications in related specialties. To maintain board certification, doctors must also show that they are keeping pace with the constant advancements in the field through continuing testing at three- or ten-year cycles, depending on the level of certification. Through these tests, incompetent, negligent doctors may be weeded out of the field.

Different organizations

medical malpractice attorney in Chicago understands that not all boards are up to the high standards of the ABMS, which is considered the “gold standard” of board certification. Fraudulent doctors may claim that they are part of a reputable board, or may simply make up a board of their own. While this is rare, it does occur. Patients should always be aware of the certifications that their surgeons claim prior to any procedure so that they can research the group and determine what that certification means.

Patients who believe they have been the victim of medical errors during surgery should contact a medical malpractice attorney in Chicago for assistance. With their help, patients may be able to receive the financial assistance they need to heal and recover from the medical errors that caused their injuries.