Author Interviews, Surgical Research / 03.11.2020 Interview with: Dr. Pravesh S. Gadjradj, MD Department of Neurosurgery, Leiden University Medical Center, University Neurosurgical Center Holland Leiden, Netherlands neurosurgery brain surgery ct scan What is the background for this study? What are the main findings?  Response: Many healthcare professionals throughout the world face issues surrounding medical malpractice at some point in their careers. Unfortunately, a number of these cases turn into medical malpractice lawsuits. As a specialty that treats acute pathology and refractory pain, neurosurgery is at risk for high liability. By the means of a survey among members of the Congress of Neurological Surgeons (CNS), we aimed to illustrate how malpractice lawsuits affect neurosurgeons professionally, emotionally and financially. What are the main findings?  Response: Some 490 members of the CNS shared their experiences with us. Among these members, 81% faced a medical malpractice lawsuit. The main concerns expressed about being sued included losing confidence and practicing defensive medicine, personal assets being at risk, and being named in the National Practitioner Data Bank. Of the respondents, 40% stated they were frequently or always concerned about being sued, and 77 % stated their fear had led to a change in how they practice medicine. For 58 %, this change led to the practice of defensive medicine, while for others it led to more extensive documentation (14%) and/or to referring or dropping complex cases (12%). Given the medical malpractice environment, 59% of respondents considered referring complex patient cases, whereas 37% considered leaving the practice of medicine. (more…)
AHA Journals, Author Interviews, Stroke / 08.03.2017 Interview with: Dr. Miikka Korja Chief Innovation Officer Neurosurgeon Associate Professor of Neurosurgery HUS, Helsinki University Hospital What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Response: Helsinki University Hospital, one of the largest hospital organizations in industrialized countries, has a very long history in conducting studies on brain aneurysms and aneurysmal subarachnoid hemorrhage. The one and only study on the natural history of ruptured aneurysms has also been conducted in Helsinki 50 years ago (published in 1967). The term “natural history” refers to an approach where the cause of a patient’s disease is not treated at all. In this case, it means that ruptured aneurysms in patients with devastating brain hemorrhage, aneurysmal subarachnoid hemorrhage, were left untreated. Therefore, these patients have a high risk of a rebleeding from the once ruptured aneurysm. As ruptured aneurysms are nowadays unexceptionally treated, if the patient survives the primary bleeding event, such natural history studies are impractical to conduct. We wanted to update the 50 years old data by using a historical patient registry. Back in the old days, many of aneurysmal subarachnoid hemorrhage patients were not treated because for example surgery was considered too risky or patients were classified as too old for surgery. By using the historical data, we showed that aneurysmal SAH, if not treated, is even more devastating disease than believed. Based on our results, we can state that 75-89% of today’s patients die in a year without treatments. (more…)
Author Interviews, Brain Injury / 02.12.2016 Interview with: Dr. Charles Tator, Neurosurgeon Toronto Western Hospital and Director Canadian Concussion Centre What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Response: The main findings of this study are that the number of symptoms of post-concussion syndrome (PCS) are related to how long PCS lasts. Furthermore, physicians need to be more vigorous in their treatment of PCS symptoms and use the treatments that exist for each symptom where possible such as headache, vertigo, anxiety. The sooner sufferers of PCS receive treatment for their symptoms, the better. (more…)
Author Interviews, Brigham & Women's - Harvard, Surgical Research / 01.02.2015

Timothy R. Smith, M.D., Ph.D., M.P.H. Pituitary/Neuroendoscopy Fellow Department of Neurosurgery Brigham & Womens Hospital Harvard University Boston, MA Interview with: Timothy R. Smith, M.D., Ph.D., M.P.H. Pituitary/Neuroendoscopy Fellow Department of Neurosurgery Brigham & Womens Hospital Harvard University Boston, MA 0211 Medical Research: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Dr. Smith: Defensive medicine is the practice of prescribing unnecessary medical treatment for fear of being sued – it is widely practiced in the United States and contributes to our rising healthcare costs. In high-risk specialties such as neurosurgery, the fear of litigation leads to defensive practices that actually impact clinical decisions. A 2009 American College of Emergency Physicians report created malpractice risk profiles for each state based on its legal atmosphere, tort reform, and insurance availability. Based on these profiles, each state was ranked from 1 to 50 and sorted into separate categories, ranging from A, for the best liability environment, to F, for the worst. We sent a 51-question, anonymous online survey, which covered topics ranging from patient characteristics to surgeon liability profiles, to board-certified US neurosurgeons in the American Association of Neurological Surgeons. The purpose was to determine how neurosurgeons’ perceptions of their medico-legal environments correlated with these established state risk profiles, as well as whether each state’s liability risk environment was a predictor of defensive medical practices. We found that though the average malpractice insurance premium was $103,000 per year, neurosurgeons from high-risk states paid significantly more ($128,000) than those from low-risk states did ($75,000). Even with these amounts, almost 70% of respondents felt that their insurance coverage was inadequate, and 90% felt that the insurance premium was a financial burden. Neurosurgeons from high-risk states were also twice as likely to have been sued as those from low-risk states were. More than 80% of respondents ordered additional imaging for defensive medical purposes, and more than 75% said they ordered additional laboratory tests and made unnecessary referrals for defensive purposes; this behavior was more prevalent in high-risk states. After controlling for important confounders, we found that for every letter-grade change from “A” to “F”, neurosurgeons are 1.5 times more likely to engage in defensive behaviors. For example, moving from a “D” state to an “A” state represents 4.5 fold difference in defensive behaviors. (more…)
Author Interviews, BMJ, Disability Research / 27.06.2014

MedicalResearch:com Interview with: Stephen Honeybul FDS RCS (Eng), FRCS (SN), FRACS Consultant Neurosurgeon Sir Charles Gairdner Hospital HOD Royal Perth Hospital Perth WA Australia MedicalResearch: What are the main findings of this study?  Dr. Honeybul: Amongst those patients who had been adjudged severely disabled or in a vegetative state at 18 months, remained as such at the three years follow up. Most patients who were able to provide a response said that they would have provided consent to the "life saving" intervention even if they had known their final outcome (more…)