Patient complaints: how surgeons compare with physicians

Substance abuse and a lack of interpersonal skills are just some of the reasons surgeons cop more flak from patients than other doctors do, Australian research shows.

The study, which compares surgeons with physicians, shows that surgeons are more than twice as likely as their peers to receive complaints.

Although most complaints are about treatments and procedures, a significant 41% are related to wider issues of professionalism, such as fee gouging, communication, interpersonal behaviour and drug and alcohol abuse.

Consistent with previous studies, the authors found