Surgeons commonly work with sharp instruments and complex equipment in performing procedures. This creates a lot of opportunities for you to inadvertently nick your finger, hands, arm or wrist. Lifting or moving equipment also creates the possibility of accidents, or injuries to your arm, back or legs. Additionally, surgeons are in close quarters with patients, who may also have infectious illnesses or diseases.
A surgeon’s primary work tools are her hands. This presents concerns on a daily basis. While you can’t spend your whole life worrying about injury or health issues, surgeons suffer greatly from any damage or loss of dexterity in hands or wrists. Problems could lead to time off from work, and in the extreme, major injuries or chronic issues could cause you to have to retire and find another line of work.
As a surgeon, you can expect to be sued at least once in a career by a patient or her family, according to an August 2011 study by “The New England Journal of Medicine.” Surgeons face a higher rate of lawsuits than general physicians, and neurosurgeons experience the highest rate among all specialties. While the study noted that only 2 percent of medical lawsuits result in payments to plaintiffs, losing a major case could wipe you and your practice out financially.