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02/05/2019

When Is the Surgeon Too Old to Operate?

External Link - Source: The New York Times

In the fall of 2015, Dr. Herbert Dardik, chief of vascular surgery at Englewood Hospital and Medical Center in New Jersey, nodded off in the operating room.

Note that Dr. Dardik, then 80, was not performing the operation. He’d undergone a minor medical procedure himself a few days earlier, so he’d told his patient that another surgeon would handle her carotid endarterectomy, in which plaque is removed from the carotid artery to improve blood flow.

But when she begged Dr. Dardik at least to be present during the operation, he agreed to sit in. “I was really an accessory,” he recalled. “It was so boring, I kind of dozed off” — whereupon an alarmed nurse-anesthetist reported the incident to administrators.

Within days, the hospital’s chief of anesthesiology and chief medical officer were in Dr. Dardik’s office, praising his surgical skill while urging him to reduce his workload.

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