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Making American Surgery Even More Dangerous

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As if it weren’t already, surgery has just become more hazardous to your health. And don’t even consider anesthesia, or the barrels of medication that bombard you before, during and after surgery. Blame has now been placed directly on the knife wielder.


Alcoholism rates among we, the people at large are about 10%. One in 10 of us are addicted to alcohol. It might shock you to learn, however that airline pilots and even surgeons, have alcohol problems, too. According to 2009 USA Today newspaper, tests catch about 1 drunk pilot monthly trying to board the airplane as a pilot, and about 10 pilots monthly enter into alcohol rehabilitation centers.

It appears, however, that surgeons have a more significant problem with alcoholism than either the general public or airline pilots. The February, 2012 issue of Archives of Surgery conducted an anonymous survey online and asked surgeons about alcoholism and its effect on their performance. Less than one-third responded, leaving data collectors to wonder if alcoholism among surgeons “may be an even bigger problem than the numbers now indicate.”

The numbers? A whopping one in 7 male surgeons and one in 4 female surgeons suffers from alcohol dependence or abuse. 

Ironically, a local Texas surgeon ends the article by stating, “You can’t really interpret too much from this,” given the low response rate! Seriously? My interpretation is that if all surgeons had honestly responded, the rate might be double-or triple! Why did so many avoid the survey? Your guess is as good as mine, but it adds fuel to my burning desire to teach “surgery-less” great health! What are your thoughts?


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