Features  |   May 2018
Concurrent Surgery: NO! Overlapping Surgery: No Harm, No Foul?
Author Affiliations
  • Monica W. Harbell, M.D.
    Committee on Patient Safety and Education
  • Aimee M. Becker, M.D.
    Committee on Patient Safety and Education
  • Della M. Lin, M.D.
    Committee on Patient Safety and Education
Article Information
Education / CPD / Patient Safety / Trauma / Burn Care / Advocacy and Legislative Issues / Quality Improvement / Features
Features   |   May 2018
Concurrent Surgery: NO! Overlapping Surgery: No Harm, No Foul?
ASA Monitor 5 2018, Vol.82, 24-27.
ASA Monitor 5 2018, Vol.82, 24-27.
Since highlighted in a 2015 Boston Globe article1 , concurrent and overlapping surgeries – during which a surgeon covers multiple procedures simultaneously – have received increased media and journal attention. Studies into the effects on patient safety are inconclusive, and policies governing overlapping surgeries differ widely across institutions. Lacking well-defined, well-documented or unifying protocols, the practice may encourage increasingly risky behaviors through a “normalization of deviance.”2  As leaders in patient safety, anesthesiologists must be integral in drafting, implementing and enforcing policies governing overlapping surgeries.
In response to the Boston Globe article, the Senate Com-mittee on Finance launched an investigation, reaching out to 20 teaching hospitals, the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) and the American College of Surgeons (ACS) to review overlapping surgery practices and policies. Seventeen hospitals shared their policies; however, during the investigation, policies at all 20 hospitals were revised and the ACS posted an updated statement of principles.3 
1 Comment
May 7, 2018
Luigino Nascimben
Brigham & Women's Hospital
Anesthesiologist covering multiple rooms

What about anesthesiologists covering four rooms with CRNAs? Shouldn't patients also be informed?

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