(a) A surgical assistant shall be licensed by the Board of Medicine before practicing as a surgical assistant within the District of Columbia.
(b) An individual licensed to practice as a surgical assistant, as that practice is defined in § 3-1201.02(20) shall have the authority to:
(1) Provide local infiltration or the topical application of a local anesthetic and hemostatic agents at the operative site;
(2) Incise tissues;
(3) Ligate and approximate tissues with sutures and clamps;
(4) Apply tourniquets, casts, immobilizers, and surgical dressings;
(5) Check the placement and operation of equipment;
(6) Assist in moving and positioning the patient;
(7) Assist the surgeon in draping the patient;
(8) Prepare a patient by cleaning, shaving, and sterilizing the incision area;
(9) Retract tissue and expose the operating field area during operative procedures;
(10) Place suture ligatures and clamp, tie, and clip blood vessels to control bleeding during surgical entry;
(11) Use cautery for hemostasis under direct supervision;
(12) Assist in closure of skin and subcutaneous tissue;
(13) Assist in the cleanup of the surgical suite; and
(14) Check and restock the surgical suite.
(c) A surgical assistant shall not:
(1) Perform any surgical procedure independently;
(2) Have prescriptive authority; or
(3) Write any progress notes or orders on hospitalized patients, except operative notes.
(d) A supervising surgeon shall perform the critical portions of a surgical procedure and shall remain immediately available in the surgical suite for delegated acts that the surgical assistant performs or to respond to any emergency. Telecommunication shall not suffice as a means for directing delegated acts.
(e) For the purposes of this section, the term “supervising surgeon” means a surgeon licensed by the Board who delegates to a licensed surgical assistant surgical assisting and oversees and accepts responsibility for the surgical assisting.
Effect of Amendments
D.C. Law 17-353 validated a previously made technical correction in subsec. (e).