The ACS also encourages surgeons to voluntarily assess their neurocognitive function using confidential online tools. As part of one’s professional obligation, voluntary self-disclosure of any worrisome and validated findings is encouraged, and limiting may be warranted.
Dr. Chole also believes that older surgeons should undergo regular periodic testing of their cognitive and physical abilities. To his knowledge, such programs have only been implemented at two institutions, Sinai Hospital in Baltimore and Stanford Health.
Harold C. Pillsbury III, MD, Thomas J. Dark Distinguished Professor and emeritus chair of otolaryngology/head and neck surgery, University of North Carolina (UNC), and executive director, The Children’s Cochlear Implant Center at UNC, Chapel Hill, said that surgeons need to be honest with themselves and evaluate their comfort level with resolving complications if they arise. “If they are confident and their results have been fabulous, then they should continue operating,” he said. “If not, then they shouldn’t do it.”