In a gynecological surgery today, we nicked the bladder. Urine spilled into the surgical field and, of course, it had to be repaired. After about a 30 minute detour, things were fixed and the surgery went forward as planned.
In this particular surgery, this type of complication is fairly common. The repairs usually work and lasting complications are rare. A worst case scenario would be a fistual formation (an open channel between the bladder and the vagina or rectum) that allows urine to pour out regularly. That’s a bad deal but can also be repaired.
If it had been you under the knife…would you want to know about this?
This surgeon will describe exactly what happened during his surgery to the patient when she wakes up, as is expected in our community. But is this best? Couldn’t he just tell her things went fine and to let him know if there’s a problem? Would you really want to constantly worry that something may not be right?
Full-disclosure – especially about medical issues – is an American ideal that much of the rest of the world does not follow with nearly as much rigor. In many other cultures, withholding certain medical facts is not meant to be paternalistic, but instead to simply provide compassionate, worry-free medical care.
I’d rather not know. If I’m peeing out of my butt, I’ll tell the doc. Otherwise, I just want to believe that things went fine.