Incidence of car accidents - Forum

Surgical student

Incidence of car accidents - Ärzteforum

Post#1 »

Some doctors in my hospital tried to explain the risks of surgery by comparing it with car accidents, saying the risk of complications of certain surgery is less than road traffic accidents (RTAs). They point out that patients will still drive even though they know the risks of car accident. (this is due to the fact that the ideas of percentage or risk may be difficult to explain to certain anxious people)

Unfortunately no-one seemed to know a good figure for risks of RTAs and fatalities in urban areas. This may vary among different countries though. Does anyone know the figures for their countries?

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Old surgeon

Re: Incidence of car accidents - Ärzteforum

Post#2 »

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.


Re: Incidence of car accidents - Ärzteforum

Post#3 »

In South Africa there are about 35 - 40 million population, about 12,000 road related deaths and 26,000 murders reported per year. Not figures to be proud of but would make the risk of even the most major surgery look pretty good.

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