MGH Defends Practices After Boston Globe Report On Doctors' Overlapping Surgeries

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Massachusetts General Hospital is defending its surgery practices after a weekend Boston Globe Spotlight investigation raised questions about patient safety. The article reported that MGH surgeons routinely oversee more than one surgery at the same time.

But the hospital says the Globe paints an inaccurate picture — and it says MGH has one of the toughest policies in the nation for such overlapping surgeries. Here is the hospital's full statement in response to the article:

Today’s Boston Globe Spotlight article paints an inaccurate picture of surgery at MGH – a picture that no one at our hospital would recognize.

The hospital tried for many months to work with the Globe to provide information, answer questions and correct inaccuracies. However, we were expressly prohibited by privacy rules from discussing the specific cases mentioned in the story. In each of these cases we sought to get consent from the patients or their attorneys so we could offer the Globe a more complete and accurate story, but in none of the cases were we permitted to do so. By using incomplete information to describe a handful of cases, the article implies the hospital does not provide the safest care possible for each and every one of our patients. Nothing could be further from the truth.

The overlapping surgery policy that was approved in October 2012 today is considered one of the strongest in the nation. We remain committed to delivering the highest quality, safest care to every patient, every day.

Finally, a comment about the MGH surgeons who were unfairly portrayed in the story. These highly skilled and compassionate physicians have dedicated their careers to helping and healing patients and families. We support them fully.

George Annas, director of the Center for Health Law, Ethics and Human Rights at Boston University's School of Public Health, joined Morning Edition to talk about the report. Click the audio player atop this post.

This segment aired on October 26, 2015.

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Bob Oakes Senior Correspondent
Bob Oakes was a senior correspondent in the WBUR newsroom, a role he took on in 2021 after nearly three decades hosting WBUR's Morning Edition.



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