If you or a loved one is in need of surgery, you may have done a lot of research on the procedure itself.
But what about the surgeon who is doing the procedure?
Sometimes we take that referral on blind faith from another doctor or a friend. But there's some research you should do before you go in for surgery.
Doctors tell EverydayHealth.com to do some digging and see if your surgeon has been sued in the past.
Contact the state medical licensing board for your state or the country clerk's office to see if they've faced a malpractice lawsuit. It's public information.
Medicare has a web based tool to compare hospital surgical records.
You might discover the hospital is great, better than average, or worse than you realized in the quality of care and safety standards.
And do you really need surgery? Always get a second opinion - unless of course you're having emergency surgery. It's good to take that time to weigh your options. You can ask your primary doctor to give you another surgeon's name.
Maybe you're worried about the scarring that takes place from surgery. In some cases, you may be able to negotiate that. The surgery may have less invasive options that can mean a shorter hospital stay, quicker recovery, and it may cost less.
If you're doing a surgery consultation with your doctor, make sure you have a family member or a friend there when exploring your surgery options.
They can take notes and even raise questions you didn't think of.
And if you don't have someone, ask to see if the hospital has a patient advocate service or ask for a nurse or a chaplain.