letters | clash in the name of care at Boston hospital

Double-booked surgery is a troubling form of multitasking

Thanks for your Spotlight article, and for opening our eyes to what is going on in the operating room. It seems as though Massachusetts General Hospital and other teaching institutions that double-book surgeries have abandoned common sense. Multitasking, in this instance, doesn’t seem like a good idea.

Do we want our pilots walking away from the cockpit for periods of time? Is there really a “non-critical” time for pilots or surgeons? Can’t a problem happen at any moment? We put a lot of faith in the expertise of pilots to fly the plane. We do the same with our surgeons to do the operation.

We are not talking about a resident or fellow closing a surgical wound after the procedure has been completed. We are talking about one doctor overlapping surgeries, and patients being unaware.


We now all know another question that we need to ask before our next procedure.

Get Arguable in your inbox:
Jeff Jacoby on everything from politics to pet peeves to the passions of the day.
Thank you for signing up! Sign up for more newsletters here

The most telling point in the whole article: Would the surgeons in question approve of double-booking if they or one of their family members were the patient? I think not.

Thank you for telling a story that needed to be told.

Connie Gannon


The writer is a registered nurse.