In this week's column, fellow of the Royal College of Surgeons Phil Turner speaks to our CEO about the pressures of being a premier league orthopaedic surgeon.
You may think a knee surgeon treating top Premier League football players has a straightforward, glamorous life. However high profile patients come with many pressures, some unexpected.
‘I get pressure from the players themselves.’ Orthopaedic surgeon Philip Turner, a fellow of the Royal College of Surgeons, explains. ‘They often believe rumour and the web, but you can’t get blown around by fads and fashions. You have to stick to what you know works on a proper evidence base.’
He then explained pressure may come from surgeons in other countries. Top players go all over the world for another opinion.
‘Professional disagreement is fine but you have to be careful not to rubbish other surgeons. Some medics may to do this to build their own credibility. We have a strong code of practice against this in the UK from the General Medical Council.’
Next it is the football clubs. ‘You would think they would want the quick fix, but they actually want an accurate time line. They need to think about what to do with their investment.’
There is also the player’s agent. They can take a short term view. ‘They may come into consultations although they are non-medical and not related to the player. They occasionally question your logic, skill and experience; push for inappropriate procedures.’
The media imposes an additional pressure on professional practice. ‘You think you’re having a private consultation. Suddenly you find it’s leaked to the press. Sometimes it’s not actually true. The club may release that a player will be out for six weeks with a hamstring injury. Actually something else is wrong which may not be physical – they rarely talk about psychological or social problems. The press also come after you for statements, which you must avoid at all costs.
Professor Andy Friedman, CEO of PARN
First appeared in Newsweek, edn. 27 February 2015
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