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Board of Medicine revises in-office surgery rules

The Florida Board of Medicine continued to tinker with restrictions on in-office surgical procedures Saturday, revising its standards for the fourth time in seven months.

The board amended a hotly debated rule that called for in-office surgeons to provide at least two caretakers certified in advanced cardiac life support to monitor patients recovering from surgery. It ruled an in-office surgeon can opt to allow a patient who is otherwise able to be discharged to remain under the watch of only one certified caretaker.

The board also revised language to clarify that a patient must be transferred to a hospital if he needs care beyond a surgeon's required 24-hour watch.

An estimated 77,000 in-office procedures are performed in Florida each year, mostly cosmetic and reconstructive surgeries.

The changes are the latest step in a process that follows more than a year of research and hearings begun following published reports of deaths and injuries stemming from office procedures.

An investigation by the Sun-Sentinel of Fort Lauderdale found at least 34 people had died since 1986 during in-office procedures in Florida, including 13 in the past two years.

It was not immediately clear when the latest regulations would go into effect.

_ The Associated Press.