Double-Booking Your Surgeon

Posted on Jul 24, 2017

Washington Post Health recently reported a fairly recent advent of "double-booking" for surgeries in various hospitals. "The issue was catapulted into public consciousness in October 2015 by an exhaustive investigation of concurrent surgery at Harvard's famed Massachusetts General Hospital by the Boston Globe." 

Not surprisingly, the main criticism of this practice is pointed at the dangers of multitasking. We all understand that with lack of focus comes a higher risk for mistakes. The last place we want multitasking is something as serious as surgery. 

"All patients deserve the sole and undivided of the surgeon, and that trumps all other considerations," said Michael Mulholand, chair of surgery at the University of Michigan Health System, which halted double-booking a decade ago. (Washington Post). Apparently, the practice of double-booking had been standardized in consent forms at some hospitals, unbeknownst to the patients. So they sneak this into forms some patients can't even read and then if they don't sign the forms, they don't get the surgery they need?

Donahoe Kearney represents those affected by medical malpractice for this very reason: sometimes the people you should be able to trust the most are the ones that fail to give you their full attention, follow simple protocols, systems, and/or patient safety checklists. Most people would never agree to surgery with a "ghost surgeon" for reasons that are very simple. Every surgery has the potential to be critical, either by nature of the surgery itself or complications that arise as a result of cutting a person open, such as sepsis. The surgeon should be there from the start of the surgery to the finish. 

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