An Australian study (featured today in Medical Observer) has found prostate cancer patients are more likely to regret surgery than radiotherapy. This had me wondering; if my patient regrets surgery, should I then regret having referred them to a surgeon?
We would like to think our referrals are always based solely on the best outcomes, but can we really claim, as Edith Piaf did, Je ne regrette rien?
Or are we in fact sometimes swayed by factors other than outcomes – things like tradition, familiarity, friendships, or yesterday’s guidelines? It’s hard to identify any one referral as adamantly wrong, particularly if we self-reflect through rose-coloured lenses. But surely not every decision can be all La vie en rose.
If a GP refers to a surgeon in the private sector, the patient usually ends up getting surgery. Something about hammers seeing everything as nails?
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