FOMO in the Surgical Suite

It is a mystery to me why a statement from the FDA warning of the overly aggressive use of surgical robots in procedures for which they do not have FDA approval does not receive more press coverage.  I'm talking front page headlines: Know the Risk of Robotic Surgery for Your Mastectomy — that kind of thing.

I love the widely circulated idea that once patients are empowered to ask their providers about this risk (how would they know to ask?), they will be empowered to stem the tide of FOMO (fear of missing out) that drives surgeons to use these surgical robots even when the data indicates worse outcomes when doing so.  So, what drives FOMO in surgeons?  Partly, I suspect, FOMO is driven by patient desire for ever smaller incisions and shorter recovery times.  But, I don't think that is the whole story. 

Part of what is going on here is a practice environment that, with few constraints,  allows surgeons to experiment on their patients, without disclosing the experimental nature of the treatment and obtaining  consent to human subject research. 

After all, if a great many surgeons are doing it, it must be safe and non-experimental, right?

1 thought on “FOMO in the Surgical Suite”

  1. Interesting. But it is not so simple. This is because such surgeons, and every physician in fact, has a professional duty to catch up with new methods and researches, published in professional medical literature ( legal duty in fact). Now, part of duty to obtain informed consent from one patient, is to describe or offer, all other novel methods exist and practiced. It would be sufficient then, to fail in one surgery, harming the patient, while new novel method or practice had been ignored or not told to the patient, for being potentially liable in tort and negligence, and loosing in court simply. Briefly : one surgeon, has a clear duty, not to get stuck in old fashion methods or practice of course.
    So, surgeon, may also consider legal outcome, and offer such experimental yet or new method, to one patient, and avoid potential law suit simply.


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