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Anyone had a planned c-section done by a trainee? Reassurance needed.

  1. #1
    Liquorice is offline Registered User
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    Anyone had a planned c-section done by a trainee? Reassurance needed.

    I am having a planned cesarean at a public hospital. This afternoon, I went to meet the doctor who will be doing my surgery next week and she is a trainee only. She will be operating without any supervision too, she has told me.

    I have had quite a few operations in my life but always done by a consultant or a senior registrar. The doctor today said that senior doctors only work on emergency c-sections or complicated cases and mine is straightforward so only she will be involved.

    I am very worried about this now. I appreciate that it might be absolutely fine and I am hoping that she wouldn't be allowed to operate without supervision if she was not capable of doing it, but I can't shake off the lack of confidence I feel and I'm worried that next week I will go into the surgery frightened and apprehensive rather than relaxed.

    Can anybody reassure me that this is standard / will be fine / that they had the same and was all very well done?

    I think it is too late to try and book a private planned c-section isn't it? Would need to be next week.

  2. #2
    TheQuasimother is offline Registered User
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    As long as the doctor you have chosen has rights at the hospital you have chosen and there is an operating suite available, you should be alright. Planned c-sections are quite easy to get organised in HK. And next week is the end of a month/start of new month. If there was going to be a vacancy, that's the best period as the deliveries have been made/scheduled for the month and it's the start of the new month schedules.

    Personally, I wouldn't want a trainee performing such a major surgery on me. There are other things to consider apart from the c-section itself!
    Last edited by TheQuasimother; 11-22-2010 at 09:56 PM.
    “If you want to get to the castle, you’ve got to swim the moat.” Richard Jenkins in Eat Pray Love

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    Shenzhennifer is offline Registered User
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    I would also be really upset or worried. I would have thought that having a planned c-section, they would schedule you with a more experienced doctor. C-sections are major abdominal surgery and just because they happen often, doesn't mean they should be considered routine. If you have had one before, you'll know that there is a lot involved in it. And your recovery depends in part on how well it was performed.

    I might be in a similar situation as you in a couple of months. Personally, I would complain and request a more experienced doctor.

  4. #4
    jvn
    jvn is offline Registered User
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    I understand why you have reservations, honestly, I think I would too. I don't know if it's too late to go private - QM's reply makes sense to me too, I think planned c-sections are the easiest to organise.

    Also, maybe you need to know more from your doctor if you do end up planning to go down the public route. I'm wondering if you'd feel any better if you had answers to questions like these... she can't be a trainee in the sense that she hasn't qualified yet? I would imagine that she has already performed a number of c-sections with or without supervision? Will there be a consultant/senior surgeon on call in the hospital when she performs the operation? Maybe you'd feel a bit better if you got more context from her?

    Good luck whichever route you go down.

  5. #5
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    carang is offline Registered User
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    as far as i know, if you are going to a public teaching hospital, you can request that ONLY qualified dr perform your checks/surgery etc. you do NOT have to agree to someone who is not fully qualified. that said, i don't think that they would ONLY have her on-hand. that would be completely irresponsible. they would HAVE to have someone senior near-by to call in case of an emergency.

  6. #6
    Liquorice is offline Registered User
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    I don't think I can request a more experienced doctor. I did ask to see the doctor again after the initial appointment with her (while I was waiting to see the anaesthetist) to ask questions that I thought of after I found out she was a trainee - I only discovered this as we were leaving the room so didn't ask any further questions at the time. Anyway, she said if I wanted a more senior doctor then I would have to go private as this was standard procedure in HK.

    She has performed c-sections on her own. I think she is a qualified doctor but a trainee surgeon. Also, there will be a senior doctor around if she needs them but it still unnerves me. I always thought a trainee should be under direct supervision, so there should be someone watching her. In this case then they can prevent her doing something wrong, rather than being called in to try and undo the damage once she has done something wrong...

    I just can't help but imagine the worst happening. As they reel off all of the risks before you sign the disclaimer form (damage to internal organs, damage to the baby, removing the uterus in case of complications etc.) and then at the same time tell you that a trainee is doing it because it is routine...
    Last edited by Liquorice; 11-23-2010 at 08:36 AM.

  7. #7
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    carang is offline Registered User
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    remember, though, that they are residents/attendings for something like 4 years in order to become a qualified surgeon. i really don't think they would put someone on doing surgery without any experience, especially a c-section as you have two lives to worry about, not just one.

    really, try to relax, i know it's difficult, but for the numbers of women that go through there having c-sections, i'm guessing that they get pretty good at them fairly quickly. i'm not saying that you shouldn't be concerned, i know i would be too, in your position, i'm just saying that it's not like they've taken a 1st day surgery resident and thrown them in doing surgery. they have to observe a lot, assist a lot and then perform the surgery under supervision a lot, THEN they are allowed to do the surgery not under direct supervision... so she would have a fair amount of "practice" before she would ever be allowed to touch a scalpel to your tummy.

  8. #8
    Newbie2 is offline Registered User
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    This alarmed me too but on reading further, I think it could be wording that is creating more fear than is probably necessary. This lady is definitely a qualified doctor and could well be a pretty experienced surgeon in other areas, but is a 'trainee' in this aspect of surgery. 'Trainee' can simply mean she hasn't finished all her hours, which I suspect would number hundreds to be considered fully qualified, she might reach her requisite number of hours and 'qualify' next week for all we know. I am sure as carang said, she has put in hours upon hours of supervised practice and her seniors must think she is able to carry out operations alone or she wouldn't be doing them. HK is a conservative and cautious society, it's just part of the culture to not even want to try in case one fails! You see this in students even so I highly doubt this lady who knows she will have at stake, two lives and her future as a doctor, would even agree to perform surgery alone if she wasn't up to it. Please try to speak to her again if you can but please don't put too much in the 'title' she has been given, I know a doctor, Chinese guy but Australian-trained, who graduated medical school, did his internship, went the surgical route, trained and practiced for years, who then came to HK to work as a 'trainee' in another area of surgery at QMH...but he was years past medical school and no doubt had performed many many surgeries in Australia by that time. I hope that helps.

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