Florida surgeon faces state complaint over case involving concurrent surgery

A West Palm Beach surgeon faces an administrative complaint from Florida regulators for supervising a team that operated on the wrong part of a boy's leg while he was handling multiple surgeries at once, according to the Sun Sentinel.

Florida's Department of Health filed the complaint against Dror Paley, M.D., who specializes in limb-lengthening surgery, in February, the newspaper said. Paley, who performs surgeries at The Paley Institute, located at St. Mary's Medical Center, disputes the finding and has requested a formal hearing, the Sun Sentinel reported. Paley also faces a second complaint filed by the department, unrelated to the concurrent surgery case, which he also disputes.

The practice of double-booking surgeries was in the headlines last week, as the U.S. Senate Finance Committee is investigating the practice of concurrent surgeries where surgeons operate on more than one patient at a time. Concurrent surgery is common at 47 hospitals across the country and has both critics and supporters, as FiercePracticeManagement previously reported.

In the complaint against Paley, the health department says Paley was supervising a surgical team in January of 2013 that operated on a five-year-old boy. After a rod was removed from the boy's leg, Paley rotated to a different operating suite to tend to another patient, according to the complaint. A physician's assistant prepped the wrong part of the child's knee for insertion of a corrective device and a surgical fellow inserted the plate on the wrong side of the knee.

In a written response to the complaint, Paley said he was not legally responsible for the actions of the physician assistant. He said only one other surgery was taking place at the same time, not several procedures as the Health Department indicated.

The Florida Department of Health and the state Board of Medicine do not have any rules on doctors performing concurrent surgeries, the newspaper said.

While some hospitals do not allow concurrent surgeries, it is common practice in others, including some renowned hospitals. Concurrent surgeries are done in most major teaching hospitals in Florida, Alan Harmon, M.D., a retired Jacksonville gastroenterologist and past president of the Florida Medical Association, told the newspaper.

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