In an experiment to compare two different surgical procedures for hernia repair (“A Single-Blinded, Randomized Comparison of Laparoscopic Versus Open Hernia Repair in Children,” Pediatrics [2009]: 332– 336), 89 children were assigned at random to one of the two surgical methods. The methods studied were laparoscopic repair and open repair. In laparoscopic repair, three small incisions are made and the surgeon works through these incisions with the aid of a small camera that is inserted through one of the incisions. In the open repair, a larger incision is used to open the abdomen. One of the response variables in this study was the amount of medication that was given after the surgery for the control of pain and nausea. The paper states “For postoperative pain, rescue fentanyl (1 mg/kg) and for nausea, ondansetron (0.1 mg/kg) were given as judged necessary by the attending nurse blinded to the operative approach.”
a. Why do you think it was important that the nurse who administered the medications did not know which type of surgery was performed?
b. Explain why it was not possible for this experiment to be double-blind.

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