I believe that I’ve written about this before, but I just read some ophthalmology discussions that make me want to bring it out again. As eye surgeons, we are going to have surgical complications and errors some of the time. While some surgeons may be cynical, I believe that most patients are human just like we are human, and they understand that. So, if something doesn’t go right, I think it is always the right thing to describe honestly what happened. Patients may be disappointed but will understand that the surgeon is human just like them.

It seems that, since we are human and make mistakes, not everyone deals that honestly. The specific examples discussed were ones in which a specialty lens implant was offered with cataract surgery, and the surgical error meant that the specialty lens implant shouldn’t be placed. The implication was that the surgeon couldn’t admit that things had gone wrong, whether due to pride or other issue, and stuck in the specialty lens implant anyway, leading to more problems rather than fewer.

I have empathy for that situation, but there is no excuse for doing the wrong thing. You just have to be honest and tell the patient what happened.

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