For the first time, a study finds double-booked surgeries put patients at risk
Patients whose hip surgeries were performed by surgeons overseeing two operations at once were nearly twice as likely to suffer serious complications as those whose doctors focused on one patient at a time, according to a large Canadian study, the first research to show that overlapping surgery can pose health risks.
The study of over 90,000 hip operations at some 75 hospitals in Ontario also found that the longer the duration of overlap between surgeries, the more likely patients were to suffer a serious complication within a year, including infections and a need for follow-up surgery.
The study, to be published Monday in JAMA Internal Medicine, is almost certain to generate controversy in the medical world, where the issue has simmered since a 2015 Globe Spotlight Team report revealed a dispute at Massachusetts General Hospital over the safety of concurrent surgery. Since then, at least seven other peer-reviewed studies at US hospitals and clinics have found no significant difference in complication rates when operations run concurrently.