Brain surgery
A surgical team prepares for brain surgery on a patient at the National Neurology Institute in Budapest December 15, 2012. The complex operation, called deep brain stimulation (DBS) and involves stimulation of certain areas of the human brain with high-frequency electricity, is carried out with the patient awake and communicating with the doctors during certain phases of the operation. Reuters/Bernadett Szabo

The latest surgical mortality report has revealed that the number of on-the-table death of Australians because of obesity has increased by almost four times in the last 10 years. In addition, it states that obesity contributes to 1 in 10 surgeries-related deaths in Western Australia (WA).

The objective of the report, prepared during The Royal Australasian College of Surgeons’ audit, was to take note of the number of deaths patients who were under the supervision of a surgeon in the state's private and public hospitals. The study was funded by the WA Health Department.

The surgical report also revealed that the number of deaths of patients who transferred from one hospital to another during the course of their treatment have also increased. From the use of junior staff to no proper handover, a number of reasons contributed to this surge in the number of patients losing their lives.

Even though the report found a 15 percent decrease in the number of surgical deaths in the last five years, the number of obesity- and diabetes-related deaths have shown a significant increase. According to the report, the increased numbers reflect the “wider trends across the community.”

James Aitken, the chairman of the audit and a Perth-based surgeon, said that an increasing number of surgeons these days report obesity as one of the contributing factors to death. "In 2002, the incidence of obesity as a comorbidity for surgical mortality was approximately 2.5 per cent," said Aitken, in an interview with The Australian.

"By 2014, it was almost 10 per cent. This strongly suggests that lifestyle issues contribute to riskier surgery, and this observation needs to be seen against the increasing public health issue of obesity."

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