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April 19, 2016

Managing the Risks of Concurrent Surgeries

Author Affiliations
  • 1Stanford Law School and Department of Health Research and Policy, Stanford University School of Medicine, Stanford, California
  • 2Deputy Editor, JAMA
  • 3Department of Surgery at the UT Southwestern School of Medicine, Dallas, Texas
  • 4Northwestern University, Chicago, Illinois
JAMA. 2016;315(15):1563-1564. doi:10.1001/jama.2016.2305

Tony Meng was 41 years old when a complex spinal operation left him paralyzed. Although paralysis is a known complication of such operations, he sued the surgeon.1 Only during the litigation did he learn that his surgeon had operated on 2 patients concurrently. It is not clear that the overlapping scheduling contributed to the outcome, but the media attention the case received has sparked discussion about the appropriateness of concurrent surgeries.2