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Surgery rules do not apply to all states

Florida is one of 21 states which have rules in place in order to help protect surgery patients from medical malpractice, medical negligence and possible wrongful death scenarios.

These rules include having licensing and accreditation concerning procedures of safety such as cleanliness, record keeping and anesthesia. Equipment and drugs proven to help save lives are also required. However, the remaining states only encourage those licenses and practices, which can prove to be dangerous if certain emergencies take place in the operating room.

Issues concerning "practice drift" are also coming into the limelight. Practice drift is defined as doctors who practice outside of the areas where they are board certified. The risks of doctors performing surgeries in areas where they are not adequately trained can include health dangers of catastrophic injuries, nerve damage and the failure of organs.

An attorney who is also part of the American Association for Justice said states need to require and enforce laws that prohibit doctors from performing procedures in which they are not appropriately trained. If not, patients may suffer the consequences.

Many areas of medicine, such as cosmetic surgeries, are lucrative opportunities. Doctors who drift into this area may want to perform these procedures but fail to obtain the necessary training and equipment that enables them to respond properly in an emergency. Additionally, many times during an emergency situation, doctors cannot accompany their patients to the hospital because of the lack of privileges.

Some states, including Florida, Alabama, Tennessee and Washington, have attempted to create stricter rules on surgery performed in an office, increasing safety and numbers of trained personnel available. Also, some have made it a requirement for doctors to register when performing certain procedures, be licensed and regulated by the state's health department, use sedation in offices and have registration certificates.

Source: USA TODAY, "State laws on in-office surgeries," Jayne O'Donnell, Dec. 28, 2011

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