Two medical-equipment salesmen told a New York State legislative panel yesterday that on rare occasions they helped in operations in New York hospitals at the request of surgeons who were using the equipment for the first time.
One said he had helped open a patient’s skull and the other said he had taken part in knee surgery. There was no evidence that their participation had been detrimental.
One surgical-supply salesman, George Schott said that in 1972 he had assisted the chief of neurosurgery after the blade of a new surgical saw jammed in the patient’s skull.
Excerpt from Lawrence Altman New York Times Dec 10, 1977
Surgical Salesmen Admit Assisting In Over 900 New York Operations
Salesmen for one surgical equipment supply company have participated, to some extent, in more than 900 operations, and have “scrubbed in” on more than 3,000 operations in New York State in the last five years.
Almost all of the instances of participation were at the request of the surgeon and a source said he knew of no complaints from patients or doctors about the instances.
United States Surgical Corp is the sole manufacturer and marketer of Auto Suture surgical staplers in the country. Salesmen demonstrate the Auto Stapler and offer advice about its use during operations.
Excerpt New York Times