Common deficiencies cited by AAAASF and how to fix them — Being prepared for a situation affecting the surgeon or anesthesia provider

In our ongoing series, Becker's ASC Review spoke with American Association for Accreditation of Ambulatory Surgery Facilities’ Director of Accreditation Jeanne Henry about the organization's commonly cited deficiency related to having policies to handle a situation in which the surgeon or anesthesia provider becomes incapacitated.

Jeanne Henry: The AAAASF ASC Standards 400.020.016 and 400.020.017 require ASCs to have written protocols in place to manage situations in which the surgeon or anesthesia provider becomes incapacitated.

Surveyors often find that many ASCs are prepared to handle common emergency situations such as natural disasters, fires and power outages, but have not given much thought about situations that potentially affect a critical member of the operating room team.

ASCs must consider the consequences if the surgeon or anesthesia provider becomes ill or is injured in the middle of a procedure and is unable to continue. Although this threat may seem minimal, stories of surgeons or anesthesiologists collapsing in the OR is not uncommon. Because ASCs typically have a much smaller surgeon and anesthesia staff than hospitals, this situation, as rare as it may seem, could have a detrimental effect if not handled properly.

While dialing 911 is acceptable as an initial response, dialing 911 alone is not sufficient. Ongoing patient monitoring, dressing of open wounds and an appropriate transfer plan should be incorporated in the policy. Many plans also include the names and contact information for other surgeons who may be able to step in and complete the procedure as necessary.

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