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Harvard Health Blog
Need surgery? Should you avoid your surgeon’s birthday?
- By Robert H. Shmerling, MD, Senior Faculty Editor, Harvard Health Publishing
As a service to our readers, Harvard Health Publishing provides access to our library of archived content. Please note the date of last review or update on all articles.
No content on this site, regardless of date, should ever be used as a substitute for direct medical advice from your doctor or other qualified clinician.
I’d be interested in a study looking at the outcomes of surgeries performed the day AFTER a surgeon’s birthday. I would think that the effects of celebrating might be more impactful than the anticipation.
The authors looked at that – the study states that they looked at surgeons’ birthdays vs. “other days” (which would include the day after the surgeon’s birthdays) and found worse outcomes on the birthdays. But, interestingly, the higher death rates in table 2 lumps birthdays with the day after.
Hi, Dahra – The authors looked at that – the study states that they looked at surgeons’ birthdays vs. “other days” (which would include the day after the surgeon’s birthdays) and found worse outcomes on the birthdays. But, interestingly, the higher death rates in table 2 lumps birthdays with the day after.
d it doesn’t seem practical for a person in need of emergency surgery to try to find out when their surgeon’s birthday is and, if it’s the day of the surgery, ask for another surgeon.
Then again, the case could be made that until we know more, perhaps emergency surgeons’ on-call schedules should be adjusted to avoid assignments on a surgeon’s birthday. The patients might have modestly better outcomes, and the surgeon might have something truly special on their birthday: a day off from sur
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