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.