In December 2015, we reported on doctors performing concurrent surgeries (operating on two different patients simultaneously) without the patients’ knowledge. Now, concurrent surgeries are a subject of interest in Northeastern Ohio’s own backyard.
In an effort to increase transparency and determine the effectiveness and safety of the practice, the U.S. Senate Finance Committee is asking 20 hospitals, including the Cleveland Clinic, to provide information on the number of concurrent surgeries the hospital has performed over the past five years. The Finance Committee is also requesting the Clinic to conduct a number of internal surveys to measure safety protocols, and how effective the practice has been for the company. Additionally, the committee is asking whether patients are made aware that they will be operated on as part of a concurrent surgery.
The committee is also interested in who does what during these surgeries and what the patients are being told. “It appears that frequently, patients are unaware that their surgeon may not conduct part or all of their surgery, thus, calling into question the patients' ability to give informed consent to the procedure which will be performed,” the letter stated.
The Cleveland Clinic has agreed to cooperate, and the Committee hopes to clarify and indicate terms for concurrent surgeries and how much (if at all) surgeries should overlap. Given the current practice, it is always important to be vigilant and ask your doctor questions before any surgery.