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Overlapping surgeries can be a threat to patient safety

If you've ever had to have surgery, you know that it's a little scary. You have to be unconscious, in many cases, and you may not know what to expect when you wake up. During the surgery, you expect your medical provider to pay attention only to you, but did you know that isn't always the case?

Overlapping surgery is fairly common, especially in surgical centers. During an overlapping surgery, the surgeon performs the most necessary and skilled portions of the surgery on the patient, then goes to the other patient to do the same. The surgeon leaves skilled nurses and medical providers to close incisions and complete the surgery.

The risk of an overlapping surgery is that both patients may be at a critical interval at the time when the surgeon can only work on one patient. If both patients have complications, it can be a problem, since there is only one skilled surgeon available to assist both. This could lead to life-threatening, and potentially deadly, consequences.

There are benefits to overlapping surgery, such as being able to reduce patients' waiting time and being able to perform more surgeries in one day. However, the reality is that one surgeon can only do so much. If they are exhausted, injured or need to tend to a different patient, then others are left with no skilled surgeon to complete their own surgeries or take care of them during a complication.

Planning for these surgeries is vital so that patients aren't put at risk. As a patient, you need to know if your surgery will overlap so that you can make the decision about whether or not this is acceptable.

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