The New England Journal of Medicine released an extremely interesting report a few years ago about how a surgical safety checklist can reduce complications and deaths associated with surgery. They feel that as common as surgical complications are, many are also quite preventable; if hospitals were to implement a 19-item surgical safety checklist it would "improve team communication and consistency of care" and obviously reduce the chances of death or complications.


The folks in charge of the report tested the checklist out in eight hospitals in eight different cities across the world. They wanted to cover many different economic circumstances and get a good, diverse sample population. The results were just as suspected–the rates of death and complications associated with surgery dropped substantially with the checklist in place.


Implemented by the World Health Organization (WHO), the surgical safety checklist has found its way into more hospitals across the world - but we'd love to see more. Imagine if every hospital in the world took safety more seriously, used this checklist and they were able to dramatically decrease the amount of surgical errors?


The checklist is divided into three main parts:


  • Before induction of anesthesia
  • Before skin incision
  • Before the patient leaves operating room


Under those categories, the team must check off things like:

  • Is the anesthesia machine and medication check complete?
  • Does the patient have a known allergy?
  • Confirm the patient's name, procedure, and where the incision will be made
  • Are there equipment issues or concerns?
  • Completion of instrument, sponge and needle counts


Some of these things may seem like obvious tasks, but surgery can be quite intense and when medical professionals are caught up in the moment, they are prone to make mistakes.


If you believe that you are the victim of medical malpractice in Texas, Oklahoma or Arkansas, contact Girards Law for a free consultation at 888.897.2762


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