Social consequences and ethical considerations of postoperative complications of surgery

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A certain percent of patients undergoing operative treatment would always run into complications following surgery. With millions of surgeries being performed every day, world over, the number of such patients is indeed quite high and their predicament needs to be appreciated by the surgical fraternity. One of the natural consequences of occurrence of a complication is prolongation of hospital stay in most circumstances. This also means increased financial burden for the family. There are many other implications involving these patients and these also affect the society as well. In our country no support systems exist for helping such patients either financially or socially, inspite of the fact that they are in difficulty. The hardship they are made to face remains unrecognized and even unappreciated most of the times by all concerned. Invariably they are left to suffer on their own. The present communication makes an effort to highlight this aspect of surgical complications, and the adverse effects, occurrence of such complications have on the individual, his/ her family and the society as a whole. An attempt has also been made to draw the attention of surgical fraternity to these happenings with a suggestion that one needs to react to a situation which is largely a creation of our own. As a surgeon, one ought to take this as a challenge to one's professional capabilities and expertise, and make active efforts to perform routine as well as difficult surgery with no or minimum possible complication rates. And if an unfortunate patient does run into difficulty, the surgeon must play a positive role to minimize sufferings and to rehabilitate him/her back into the society.

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