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Invited Commentary
Health Care Policy and Law
January 2018

Overlapping Surgery—Perspectives From the Other Side of the Table

Author Affiliations
  • 1Department of Orthopaedic Surgery, University of California–San Francisco
JAMA Intern Med. 2018;178(1):83-84. doi:10.1001/jamainternmed.2017.6846

In October 2015, the Boston Globe’s Spotlight Team brought to public attention the practice of overlapping or concurrent surgery.1 The article, titled “Clash in the Name of Care,” highlighted possible complications arising from the practice of a single attending surgeon performing surgical procedures on 2 patients in separate operating rooms simultaneously. The attention garnered by this article would initiate an investigation by the US Senate Finance Committee, changes in hospital policies across the country, and a wave of research aimed to investigate this practice. The American College of Surgeons (ACS) subsequently defined concurrent surgery as when critical portions of cases are performed at the same time and overlapping surgery as when critical portions do not coincide.2 Concurrent surgery has been banned by medical centers across the country, whereas overlapping surgery is practiced at certain centers under careful supervision.

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