Saint Louis University Journal of Health Law & Policy

Document Type

Student Comment


The practice of overlapping and concurrent surgeries—where a single surgeon runs two or more operations at once—is not new. However, it was not until 2015, through the Boston Globe’s investigation, that the general public learned the details of such practices. Lack of transparency surrounding these practices regrettably has created a culture of distrust within the surgeon-patient relationship. The core concern of overlapping and concurrent surgeries is the potential for patient risk. Scientific research on how much additional risk overlapping or concurrent surgeries place on the patient is still in its early stages. This article explores current scientific research, noting the limitations of the studies and advocating for further research efforts. It then examines various ways the law should handle overlapping and concurrent practices. This article concludes that under the informed consent doctrine and due to the fiduciary nature of the treatment relationship, surgeons should be required to disclose to the patient whether an operation will proceed in an overlapping or concurrent manner even when risk information is incomplete. Ultimately, this article urges health care institutions to establish disclosure policies for overlapping and concurrent surgeries to allow for open surgeon-patient communication and truly informed patient consent.