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How can surgical errors be prevented?

On Behalf of | Nov 16, 2020 | Medical Malpractice

Undergoing any type of surgery is extremely stressful, but you expect your doctor and medical staff to be responsible and knowledgeable. Unfortunately, mistakes do happen, and these mistakes can have a lasting impact on your health and wellness.

According to the Patient Safety Network, wrong-site, wrong-procedure, wrong-patient errors (WSPEs) are unfortunately common. Even more alarming is that these errors are almost always preventable, and it is up to hospitals and clinics to take the right steps to ensure they never happen. Here are a few things medical professionals must do to prevent WSPEs.

Have consistent processes in place

Some hospitals take steps to prevent wrong-site procedures by clearly marking the correct site in an attempt to prevent confusion. However, inconsistency in the way surgical sites are marked and ambiguity among staff still leads to preventable surgical errors. That is why hospitals and clinics are urged to adopt a uniform practice and ensure it is communicated to all involved departments. Additionally, all staff must be properly trained and educated on what markings mean to eliminate confusion.

Implement a surgical timeout

Surgeons and their staff are encouraged to participate in a mandatory timeout before any surgical procedure begins. This timeout provides the chance for the staff to ask questions and compare notes on what is about to happen. A timeout increases the chance that an error will be identified before the patient is harmed.

Combine multiple solutions

There is no one cure for WSPEs because errors can occur at every level of a surgery, both before and during a procedure. That is why medical professionals are urged to develop comprehensive processes to ensure an optimum outcome for patients. The above processes can be combined with checklists, which detail distinctions about the patient, their condition, and the procedure they are scheduled to undergo. The more steps taken, the lower the chance of a surgical error.


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