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Surgeon condemns crude data on outcomes for causing “debacle”

BMJ 2013; 347 doi: (Published 02 July 2013) Cite this as: BMJ 2013;347:f4299

This article has a correction. Please see:

  1. Zosia Kmietowicz,
  2. Krishna Chinthapalli
  1. 1BMJ

A surgeon who was wrongly identified as having the highest mortality rate in the United Kingdom for a specific operation has criticised the release of crude data to the general public.

Simon Payne, a surgeon at Portsmouth Hospitals, told the BMJ that he felt like he “had been kicked in the stomach” when a number of newspapers used the incorrect and unadjusted data from the Vascular Society to name surgeons with the highest mortality rates for infra-renal abdominal aortic aneurysm surgery and carotid endarterectomy.1 2 This was despite the fact that the report made it clear that none of the UK’s vascular surgeons were “outliers,” defined as performing outside the expected range.3

Payne had been recorded as having a crude mortality rate of 31% for infra-renal abdominal aortic aneurysm—compared with a …

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