Wednesday, February 22, 2006

Surgeons inviting criticism, sort of

…When HA’s sister got her hip replacement, they had her personally write “Yes” on the side to be operated. Making a mistake would be so awkward, you know.

…Sometimes, studies show, the support staff in the operating room is afraid to speak up and say things like, “Uh, this isn’t Mrs. Smith, doctor.”

…Yet, at another facility, the doctors were surprised their staffs would not challenge them.

…An alliance of not-for-profit hospitals called VHA is getting surgeons to team-build, have post-op briefings, and even to have “safety pauses,” where anyone in the OR can speak up and comment on the proceedings.

…Kaiser Permanente also has pre-op briefings, like an aviation checklist.

…The Joint Committee on Accreditation of Healthcare Organizations (JCAHO, see links list) says there have been 71 instances in the last decade in which the wrong part of the patient was operated. In 1995, two were reported.

…If you watch those plastic surgery shows on TV, you know lots of things can happen in a bustly operation room—wrong blood, patient’s breathing changes, patient coming out of anesthesia, patient never all the way under anesthesia, sloppy sanitation, bad sponge counts. The more people watching and able to pipe up the better.

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