Some of Swedish Health’s top neurosurgeons have routinely run multiple operating rooms at the same time while keeping patients in the dark about the practice, The Seattle Times has found. Swedish touts its patient outcomes and is clarifying its consent forms.
Since her surgery, Phyllis Johnson’s neck has been so askew that she can no longer look toward the sky. After his surgery, Duane Pearson found his hands frequently stinging with pain. Orna Berkowitz’s surgery was supposed to be routine, but she ended up in the hospital for 41 days.
The three patients had placed their trust in the same doctor, Rod Oskouian, a top neurosurgeon at Swedish Health.
But there was something they didn’t know: Oskouian’s attention was split during each of their procedures, with internal data showing he was running two operating rooms at the same time.
Johnson, Pearson and Berkowitz recently learned about the double-booked cases from a reporter. Each said they likely wouldn’t have consented to the surgery if they’d known that was happening.
Those cases, along with many others at Swedish, illustrate the wide gulf between the expectations of Swedish patients and the reality of what’s happening in the operating room once they are under anesthesia for perilous procedures. In recent years, some of Swedish’s top brain and spine surgeons routinely ran multiple operating rooms at the same time while keeping patients in the dark about the practice, according to internal surgery data obtained by The Seattle Times as well as interviews with patients and medical staffers.
Four surgeons at the Swedish Neuroscience Institute — Oskouian, David Newell, Johnny Delashaw and Jens Chapman — ran multiple operating rooms during more than half their cases over the past three years, according to the data. Oskouian did it 70 percent of the time. To manage two rooms, surgeons generally leave less-experienced doctors receiving specialized training…