We are keeping a close watch on the unfolding investigation of surgery practices at Swedish Medical Center’s Cherry Hill Neuroscience Institute, as we recently covered in another blog post when the hospital’s department chief, Dr. Johnny Delashaw, had his medical license suspended.

Most recently, The Seattle Times published a new investigative article indicating that the hospital’s top surgeons frequently conducted multiple operations at the same time, relying on junior staff to perform most of the procedures and allegedly keeping patients in the dark about the practice.

Patient transparency has become such a critical issue, that Virginia Mason Medical Center and the University of Washington Medical Center have now followed Swedish’s lead to adopt new surgery consent form that clearly inform patients about the prospect of surgeons conducting simultaneous operations. 

The investigation analyzed internal hospital data for numerous doctors and found high rates of overlapping surgeries. The newspaper also alleges these surgery practices may have led to unnecessary patient injuries. For example, three of Dr. Rod Oskouian’s patients were injured during their surgeries that overlapped with another procedure. As a result, one patient remained in the hospital for 41 days, and others needed additional surgeries for severe neck and nerve traumas.

While overlapping surgeries is a common but debated industry practice, the patients interviewed by The Seattle Times said they would not have consented to their sensitive operations if they knew their surgeons were conducting multiple surgeries simultaneously – and not focusing solely on their care.  

The newspaper’s findings allege:

  • Four surgeons at the Swedish Neuroscience Institute — Rod Oskouian, David Newell, Johnny Delashaw and Jens Chapman — ran multiple operating rooms during more than half their cases over the past three years, with Oskouian doing it more than 70 percent of the time.

  • Oskouian had 1,355 overlapping surgeries between 2014 and 2016, and in nearly three-quarters of those cases, he was managing two operations for the bulk of each surgery time.

  • More than a dozen current and former Swedish staff members have shared concerns in interviews about how little time some surgeons were spending in each operating room.

  • All of the patients signed consent forms that acknowledged the ability for Swedish to overlap its surgeries, but experts believe the forms weren’t clear enough for patients to understand their meaning.  

  • Swedish is now working to become more transparent about the practice and has updated its consent forms to make them more understandable. The hospital is also adjusting how it tracks the time surgeons are spending in each operating room.

If you or a family member were injured or have questions about care you received at Swedish Medical Center, or if you have another legal issue you would like to discuss, we are here to help.

Our experienced attorneys battle to uncover the truth and resolve unanswered questions for our clients, who have been involved in numerous similar medical situations. 

You can reach us by phone at (206) 467-6090, or through our contact page.