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Tom Sharon
Activism to improve the availability of surgical teams


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Operating Room Staffing

About the subject of operating room staffing, this is a question of availability for people who need emergency surgery. It takes about thirty minutes to page the on-call personnel and wait for them to arrive. Additionally, it takes another thirty minutes to open an operating suite once it has been shut down for the night. If, heaven forbid, you had a ruptured appendix, a stab or gunshot wound, internal bleeding, or any other life-threatening emergency, would you want to wait an hour for the operating room to open for business?

It is imperative to choose a hospital that has at least one circulating nurse, one scrub nurse, one anesthetist, and a complete array of surgical specialists in position to begin emergency surgery within a few minutes of the patient's arrival, twenty-four hours per day, seven days per week. If you cannot find such a facility in your community, you have a potential problem. One possible solution is to find out if the emergency medical service system has a helicopter on hand to evacuate critical individuals to a major medical center. Otherwise, you may have to engage in some community activism to improve the availability of surgical teams.

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