As one of the longest running events in Informa Australia’s history, “Medico Legal Congress” brings together medical and legal professionals from around the country to facilitate discussion and debate on current medico-legal challenges and enables the development of better risk management strategies.
We were lucky enough to grab a few minutes from the honourable Geoffrey Davis who is our keynote opening speaker for the 25th Anniversary Medico Legal Congress for an interview prior the event and get his thoughts on his subject of presentation – Identifying Incompetent Surgeons: A Collective Failure to Learn from Public Inquiries.
He was kind enough to share his thoughts on the topic as well as what he is looking forward to about the Medico Legal Congress 2016.
Here’s the print version of the interview below.
Shortly after I retired from the Court of Appeal I commenced the Queensland Public Hospitals Commission of Inquiry which involved, among other things, some incompetent surgeons eg Patel. I was then asked to join the Council of the Royal Australasian College of Surgeons as their first non-surgeon member. I served on that Council for 7 years during which time I started being asked to and did give a number of papers (now about 6 in all), mainly on conduct and competence at National Conferences. That still continues. In 2010 I was made an Honorary FRACS.
The culture of concealment is not just a problem with individual surgeons. It exists, more importantly, in Surgical Bodies. All seem unwilling to expose, even for a limited purpose, the names of surgeons involved in adverse events or even preventable adverse events. But unless you identify a surgeon involved in a preventable adverse event, you will never know whether that is part of a pattern of preventable adverse events by that surgeon.
Surgical bodies should accept the necessity of mortality and morbidity audits at which the name of a surgeon involved in an adverse event should be recorded and an assessment made and recorded of whether that event was preventable. That record should then be kept in order to determine whether that surgeon has a pattern of such events significantly greater than that of his colleagues. Otherwise how can you identify incompetent surgery?
I am particularly in hearing the presentation of Vinay Rane. In particular I am interested to hear how much he thinks that increased legal risk is caused by vanity, fame seeking or financial gain by surgeons rather than by patient demands.