Regarding your question comparing the risk of surgery with that of auto crashes-(anyone working in the field of trauma knows that the term "accidents" should never be applied to auto wrecks, as virtually always these are not accidents, which implies an act of God we can do nothing to prevent--not true). Anyway--you are missing the point if you look for actual numbers--this is the very thing we try to avoid by making this analogy, an analogy I also use commonly. The point is the risks of surgery are always there, we cannot eliminate them, but we can and do minimize them to the greatest extent possible thru our knowledge and experience with the techniques, with periop antibiotics, with DVT prophylaxis, bowel prep, atraumatic handling of tissues, meticulous hemostasis, etc etc... The risk of major morbidity of most procedures today is generally less than 1%, and of minor morbidity less than 5%. This is why we always take surgery seriously, and ONLY do it if those risks are outweighed by demonstrated benefits to the patient--and if you read this list regularly you'll often find surgeons can lose sight of this last tenet. Anyway--the above analogy puts it in an understandable perspective--we often make these judgements of risk/benefit ratio every day, to the point we take it for granted--just driving to the store poses a risk of death or injury, but we perceive a benefit that outweighs that admittedly very small risk, and we still do things to minimize that risk(i.e. seatbelts, don't speed, don't run stop signs or red lights, use your turn signal, etc). There is no one number that can tell someone the risk of dying in a motor vehicle crash(again--be sensitive to terminology), although it must be very small, but still real, so don't get caught up in numbers here--the overall perspective is what's important.