Investigation: 4 Swedish Neuroscience Institute surgeons double-booked more than half of their cases between 2014 & 2016

Written by Megan Wood | May 30, 2017 | Print  |

Seattle-based Swedish Health has frequently double-booked spine surgeries at its Cherry Hill campus, The Seattle Times reports.

Here are five insights:


1. The Seattle Times reporters obtained internal surgery data that revealed some Swedish brain and spine surgeons "routinely ran multiple operating rooms at the same time while keeping patients in the dark about the practice." The reporters also came to this conclusion based on patient and medical staff interviews.


2. From 2014 to 2016, four Swedish Neuroscience Institute surgeons oversaw multiple ORs concurrently for more than half of their cases. The surgeons routinely performing concurrent surgeries in this time frame included Rod Oskouian, MD; Johnny Delashaw, MD; Jens Chapman, MD; and David Newell, MD.


3. Guy Hudson, MD, Swedish's interim CEO, labeled these surgeries as "overlapping," indicating a second surgery simply begins with the close of the previous one. The Seattle Times reports Dr. Hudson previously said surgeons are not allowed to schedule cases with the same start time. Despite this claim, The Seattle Times found more than 200 times when surgeons started two cases at the same time or within a five-minute lapse between 2014 and 2016. The reporters discovered these cases often overlapped for more than one hour.


4. Swedish is not alone in allowing overlapping surgeries, as the topic has come under fire in recent years. Dr. Hudson pointed to metrics that the Cherry Hill facility demonstrated better overall outcomes compared to the industry benchmark. He noted that they are still looking into outcomes comparisons between overlapping and non-overlapping cases.


5. In May, Swedish Cherry Hill began giving consent forms to patients outlining the possibility of overlapping surgeries. Patients read that their surgeon "will be assisted by a care team," The Seattle Times reports, but the form does not spell out that physicians-in-training may be performing some of the surgery without surgeon supervision.


6. Swedish has faced investigations since The Seattle Times published a report on the Swedish Neuroscience Institute on the Cherry Hill campus in February. Former Swedish CEO Anthony Armada resigned in February after the report prompted state regulators to investigate. Dr. Delashaw also resigned from his post as chair of the Swedish Neuroscience Institute on the Cherry Hill campus on March 1, amid a state health regulatory investigation into complaints filed against him.

Find out more about The Seattle Times investigation, here.


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