How do new surgeons [like recent med school graduates] ever become proficient since many patients request experienced surgeons?
As the other person said, inexperienced surgeons often have experienced surgeons either in the room with them or nearby if they need something. Surgeons have a very particular way of learning to be independent. Learning, watching, doing with supervision, and so on.
Additionally, to your initial assumption, not many patients do go out of their way to request an experienced surgeon. I work in an ER that gets lots of people going off to surgery urgently and have worked in other areas where surgery is common. Unsurprisingly, very few people who need emergent surgery are taking the time to look up their surgeons to see how experienced they are. Even people who sign up for elective surgery rarely look too deeply into their surgeons’ credentials. The vast majority take for granted the assumption that their doctor is qualified. Part of which comes from going to what you assume to be a reputable hospital. And if you are at a hospital that teaches residents or has trainees it is generally taken for granted that you agree to that. It may even be in your consent to treatment you sign and you may not even know exactly who is and isn’t in training or what their level of training is.
Even more generally, Very few people (especially older people) know significant amounts about their own medical history at all. You can walk into most doctors appointments with older adults and they would be unable to tell you details about their medications they take daily or all their medical diagnoses. Even with informed consent and strong patient education initiatives most people really have no idea what’s happening to them while they’re in the hospital. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve been in a room with a doctor explaining exactly what’s going on and the patient *immediately* starts asking questions about what’s going to happen to them, even though seconds before they told the doctor they understood.
All this to say, lots of people don’t care, or at least, don’t understand enough to even think about whether or not their doctor is qualified when they are at the hospital. People who are acutely ill have dozens of people, from doctors, nurse practitioners and PAs, therapy, nursing staff, etc.. coming into their room and tell them things and doing things to them. It is VERY likely than some of them are in training, especially at a teaching hospital, and to be frank it isn’t even a guarantee that they would tell you if they are.
They operate under the guidance of an experienced surgeon.
A surgical resident is not going to be allowed to operate without an attending surgeon present. They will start by observing simple surgeries, then move on to performing _parts_ of the surgery under supervision, then move on to performing the _entire_ surgery under supervision, then move on to more complex surgeries under supervision.
Eventually – after years of supervision – they will be allowed to conduct surgeries on their own.
And a patient can _request_ an experienced surgeon all they like – that doesn’t mean that they will get one. If you go to a teaching hospital, you often get residents, particularly for more mundane issues.