Does your doctor have enough experience?

Does your doctor have enough experience?

Does your doctor have enough experience? 150 150 Dan Frith

I recently handled a medical malpractice case in which the patient encountered complications during surgery and died as a result.  Prior to surgery, the family was told by the surgeon that he was experienced in performing the surgery at issue and that “it wasn’t that big of a deal.”

Guess what?  It was a big deal and a hugely complicated surgery.  More importantly, the surgeon had only performed this procedure about 9 times during the preceding 10 years.  Is this enough experience?  Not for me or my family….and it should not be for you either.

Medical literature is filled with studies which report the more experience your doctor has the greater the likelihood of a better outcome. The medical consultant I worked with in the above case performed the surgery at issue about 100 times per year.  Don’t you think that surgeon is the one you want operating on you?  There are no guarantees but I want to play the odds, and the odds are not in your favor if your doctor lacks sufficient experience.

How does a patient find out if his or her surgeon has sufficient experience?  Ask how many times the doctor has performed the surgery. Ask the doctor for how many years has he performed the surgery.  Ask the doctor what the national complication rate is for the surgery and what his complication rate is.  Ask the surgeon what complications can occur and, if they do occur, does the hospital have the necessary specialists to handle the complication if it should arise during your surgery.

And if the surgeon refuses to answer your questions? FIND ANOTHER SURGEON!

About the author

Dan Frith

Dan Frith has over 25 years of experience representing individuals and families in cases of medical malpractice throughout Virginia. He has been named "Best Medical Malpractice Attorney" by Roanoker Magazine and is a member of the Million Dollar Advocates Forum. To speak with Dan, contact him by email at

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