"Check List" for Surgery Helps Patients

By: Dr. Timothy Johnson
By: Dr. Timothy Johnson

Experts have designed a tool that reduces the rate of complications and
nearly cuts the death risk from surgery in half - and it barely costs a

New research finds that a simple checklist for doctors and nurses to ensure they have the right patient, the necessary tools, and the proper protocols can dramatically reduce errors and improve patient health during surgery.

With research showing that nearly half of all medical errors are
preventable, hospitals are always looking for new ways to keep their
patients safe.

One cutting-edge tool is easy to follow, inexpensive to create, and cuts
the death rate from surgery almost in half - it's a simple checklist that
encourages communication between patients, doctors, and nurses.

If the checklist is followed, the operating team is required to make sure
they have the right patient and that the site of the incision is clearly

Also on the checklist - extra blood for potential transfusions and oxygen
monitors, hooked up and ready to go.

At the end of the surgery, all the instruments must be counted to make sure none has been accidentally left inside the patient.

All these basic steps can have a big payoff.

A new international study headed by the Harvard School of Public Health compared the results for patients treated before and after hospitals began using the checklists.

Around the globe, the checklists meant fewer infections, a 36% lower complication rate and a 47 per cent lower rate of death.

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