Deaths are almost unknown in some procedures, such as hip and knee replacements, so an impressively low figure may be misleading. For those, what counts is the percentage of patients who returned to a good quality of life, and—again, for patients like you—how long that typically took.
Vague responses ("Oh, my patients have very few complications") or figures that worry you are yellow flags. As for a doctor who brushes off your questions, that's one of those rare red flags that should make you politely end the conversation. You're never obligated to proceed with a specific doctor. "Everybody is different in what they're looking for," Beckman says. Trust your instincts—coupled with the legwork you've done, they will guide you. The bottom line, experts agree: Taking control of your care is worth the extra effort.