Scottsdale, Arizona


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Chrissie Cole
Chrissie Cole
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Surgical Mishaps Prompt Crackdown on Office Surgeries

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Several surgical disasters – including the death of a Tucson attorney- has now prompted the state to crackdown on Doctor’s performing surgeries in their offices.

For the first time, doctors will need to have specific monitoring and emergency equipment, specialized staff training and inform patients of the potential risks of having surgery in an office – if the proposed rules from the Arizona Medical Board are put into effect.

Dating as far back as 2004, there have been several bad outcomes with surgical procedures that are done in the doctor’s office. So much so, that the board got concerned and they are now asking legislature to allow for rules covering office-based surgeries that require sedation.

Most recently is a case in Tucson, in December, when an attorney stopped breathing and suffered cardiac arrest during cosmetic surgery. She remained in a coma, on life support, until she died ten days later.

The proposed rules by the Medical Board are Arizona’s first attempt at implementing standards for the practice to improve patient safety. With these new standards in place, if someone were to have an adverse reaction during surgery, the surgeons would have all the equipment – the cardiac monitors, resuscitation equiptment and such – there, on site, to handle any and all situations.

There is no mechanism for inspecting and verifying that a surgeon is in compliance with the medical board’s new rules, Miller acknowledged.

“But if a physician comes to our attention through a complaint, then we can hold the physician responsible for meeting this new standard of care and enforce discipline if the standards aren’t met,” he said. The Arizona Medical Board investigates any patient complaint, or medical malpractice settlement or verdict requiring payment, involving an Arizona physician.

The proposed office-based surgery rules are open for public comment now, then will be reviewed by the Governor’s Office. If accepted, they could go into effect in Arizona by May.