Reports of Unprofessional Behavior by Surgeons and Risk of Complications for Patients

JAMA Surgery


Media advisory: To contact corresponding author William O. Cooper, M.D., M.P.H., email Craig Boerner at The full study, commentary and podcast are linked to this news release.

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Bottom Line: This observational study looked at whether patients whose surgeons were more often reported by coworkers for unprofessional behavior were at greater risk of postoperative complications. The analysis included data from reports of unprofessional behavior by coworkers for 202 surgeons from two academic medical centers, as well as data on surgical and medical complications within 30 days of operation for 13,653 patients. Reported unprofessional behavior included concerns about poor or unsafe care, clear and respectful communication, and integrity. Among the patients, 1,583 (11.6%) experienced a complication. The study authors report patients whose surgeons had more reports by coworkers of unprofessional behavior were more likely to experience a complication. A limitation of the study to consider is that reporting of the observed behaviors may be subjective.

Author: William O. Cooper, M.D., M.P.H., Vanderbilt University School of Medicine, Nashville, and coauthors



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