You are a ST3 on Trauma and Orthopaedics. A patient with an ankle fracture (6 days old injury) has attended for his surgery third on the trauma list. However, the first case on the theatre list took too long and as a result this patient will not be able to have his surgery today. Please cancel the patient.

  • Wash your hands  
  • Introduce yourself
  • Determine what the patient knows so far
  • Explain to the patient that due to unforeseen circumstances and the first case taking too long that you will have to cancel his procedure
  • Apologise to the patient
  • Explain the next steps: will look to book the patient into theatre tomorrow, will discuss with the consultant about putting them as golden patient tomorrow
  • The patient can now eat and drink offer to get them a snack or some water
  • Apologise again

Patients with ankle fractures can have their ankle operated on up to 2 weeks after injury prior to any healing in the wrong position taking place.

  • I would attempt local resolution by apologising to the patient and listening to/addressing their concerns.
  • If the patient remains unhappy I would provide them information on how they can contact PALS.