August 17, 2015 – Residents and Outcomes


Anchor lead: Should you avoid the participation of residents in your surgery? Elizabeth Tracey reports

Urban legends abound about the dangers of hospitals and surgeries when new residents come on board, warning that elective procedures should be avoided and EDs given a miss.  Now research comparing outcomes when residents were involved and when they weren’t by Judy Huang, a neurosurgeon at Johns Hopkins, and colleagues shows that at least when it comes to neurosurgery, you’ve got nothing to worry about.

Huang: Once we’ve corrected for their baseline medical conditions we realized there’s no difference in outcome at 30 days. The reason for that is the people who actually undergo their neurosurgery by an attending and a resident tend to be sicker to begin with.  They tend to have more medical conditions, older, higher risk, have more complex procedures.  When that is all accounted for there’s no difference.  :25

Huang says there’s no substitute for experience, either, and that’s often more robust in a teaching hospital.  At Johns Hopkins, I’m Elizabeth Tracey.