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Before Surgery: 3 Questions You Should Absolutely Ask Your Doctor

Group of surgeons doing surgery on a male patient in operation room at hospital.

Attorney Gary Martin Hays has three important tips for anyone facing surgery. These suggestions come from 30+ years of practicing personal injury law, as well as the many doctors that Gary has interviewed and spoken with during this time.

The overwhelming amount of surgical cases that we deal with at Gary Martin Hays & Associates are because of some kind of traumatic event. However, these tips apply no matter what type of surgery or reason for the procedure.

Here are three questions that we recommend you always ask your doctor whenever they recommend you have surgery or undergo a medical procedure.

1. What are the benefits of having surgery?

In other words, you need to ask the doctor why you need to have surgery. Have them explain why it would be beneficial for you to go under local or general anesthesia. Whether it’s for pain relief, restoring a body part to where it can function better, or potentially saving your life, the procedure should have a clear and defined purpose.

2. What are the likely risks of the surgery?

You’ll receive a long list of potential things that could go wrong, up to and including death. We understand these things can be scary or intimidating. Ask the surgeon what are the most common risks and potential side effects for this particular procedure they are recommending. Find out what has happened to other patients who have undergone the exact same surgery you’re considering.

3. What are the risks if you don’t have the surgery?

This is a question that is rarely asked. Have your doctor explain what might happen if you just let things remain the way they are. Will your condition worsen, or does it have a chance to get better on its own? And if it likely will become worse, how bad could it get, and what are the odds that surgery can help in the future? You do not want to sit around and let a window of opportunity to repair the problem close on your forever because you didn’t act in a timely fashion.

Brain Surgery in 2003

All of this information is also based on Gary’s personal experience because he once had to make the difficult choice of whether or not to undergo brain surgery.

In 2003, Gary started having excruciating headaches. After a battery of tests, including two MRIs, a neurosurgeon recommended he undergo brain surgery.

The benefit of having the procedure was that it could alleviate the pressure in the brain, which in turn could help alleviate his headaches and dizziness. The risk was that it was brain surgery — he could have died on the table from excessive bleeding, an infection of the cerebrospinal fluid, or a sudden stroke. The risks of not having the procedure included loss of bowel and bladder function. The headaches would continue, becoming more severe and potentially disabling.

After weighing the benefits and risks of the surgery, Gary chose to have it and is glad he did.

Other Questions to Ask a Surgeon

We understand any time a person hears the words surgery or medical procedure it can be a scary thought. What you don’t want to do is put your head in the sand and ignore the problem because it will probably get worse.

Find out all you can by asking the three questions above, as well as additional questions such as:

  • What is the success rate for this surgery?
  • How many of these procedures has the surgeon performed?
  • If you want a second opinion, who would they suggest you see?
  • What tests and medical evaluations are needed before the surgery?
  • Will you have to stay in the hospital afterward, and if so, for how long?
  • What will the recovery period be like, and for how long?
  • Are there any handouts, materials, or websites that you can review about the surgery?
  • Can the surgeon provide you with a detailed explanation of all costs from all providers involved in the surgery?

We suggest that if you elect to have surgery done, you go into the situation having a high level of confidence in your surgeon. Don't focus just on their technical skills and performance record. You want to work with a doctor you can trust, as well as a team that is willing to take the time to go over everything with you. If they don’t want to spend the time with you before you have the procedure, they will probably be unresponsive to your needs if you are in pain after the surgery.

Atlanta Accident Lawyers

Our legal team has seen all kinds of traumatic injuries over the years caused by car accidents, truck accidents, workplace accidents, negligent businesses, and more. If you suffered a severe injury that required hospitalization and surgery due to no fault of your own, our Atlanta personal injury lawyers can help get you financial compensation.

We can also recommend trustworthy and experienced surgeons and treatment centers from across the metro area that specialize in the type of surgery you need. Or maybe you had to have emergency surgery; now you’re facing huge medical bills and potentially more surgeries in the future. Gary Martin Hays & Associates can ensure the insurance company fully covers your expenses, even if you lack health insurance.

Call (770) 934-8000 for a free consultation today — the sooner you call, the sooner you can recover.

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