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Mass. rule would order double-booking surgeons to sign in each time

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After reports in The Boston Globe  questioned  double-booking of operations by surgeons — meaning letting a surgeon go back and forth between operations on two different patients — the Massachusetts Board of Registration in Medicine has voted to require surgeons to document each time they enter or leave an operating room. The Globe said it’s the first such move by a medical board in the nation. Given Massachusetts’s prestige in medical matters, we predict that boards in many other states will follow.

The board also voted on Jan. 7   to require that the primary surgeon name who the replacement would be if he or she left the operating room.

And many have been surprised to learn that while nurses are required to sign in and out of operating rooms, surgeons have not been so required. Why the double standard, other than the power and prestige of surgeons?

A surgeon’s ability to bounce back and forth between two operations scheduled for the same time let the surgeon  make more money.




 David Hoyt, M.D., executive director of the American College of Surgeons (ACS),  told Medscape Medical News, “I don’t think the problems {of double-booking} are widespread at all, but we have no way of knowing.”  He added that the ACS will discuss whether its guidance on concurrent surgeries needs to be more precise.


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