Helen Mulholland has co-authored a paper on consent in cataract surgery which has been published in “Eye”, the official journal of the Royal College of Ophthalmologists. She worked with a team of ophthalmic experts, led by Consultant Ophthalmic Surgeon Mr Simon Madge, in considering whether the use of a trainee surgeon constituted a ‘material risk’ of which the patient should be informed.

In surgery in general, it can be difficult to prove that trainee involvement affects peri-operative or post-operative outcomes, however, cataract surgery is rather different since it largely involves a single surgeon; furthermore individual surgeon’s complication rates are recorded and are openly available.

In the article, the team consider whether the availability of such statistics gives rise to a duty to warn the patient of the increased risk of surgery in the hands of a trainee.

Helen said: “It has been hugely rewarding to collaborate on this project. The increasing availability of statistics and outcomes raises interesting questions in the context of consent. I had the privilege of spending a day with Mr Madge and his team and was thoroughly impressed in and out of theatre: I even got to see the consent process in action.”

The article is available through Eye and can be accessed here.

 

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