How Surgical Safety Checklists Prevent Medical Errors

Posted on March 09, 2016 by Shapiro Law Group


Medical errors have horrific consequences for patients and their families, so it is important for hospitals to institute policies that help health care professionals avoid mistakes. Surgery safety checklists provide ways for doctors, nurses, anesthesiologists and others to double-check their work so mistakes such as operating on the wrong patient or body part can be avoided.

What is on a surgical safety checklist? Surgical safety checklists require doctors to check off questions, such as ‘is the surgical site marked?’ and ‘does the patient have a known allergy?’ There are also questions for specific health care professionals. Checklists for anesthesiologists have questions such as ‘are there any patient-specific concerns?’

A recent study carried out by doctors in Italy discovered that surgical safety checklists could decrease hospital stays and the chance of patient death. Italian researchers studied 10,700 surgery patient outcomes for six months before and after hospitals implemented surgical safety checklists. Hospitals that utilized surgical safety checklists decreased the death rate of patients by .2 percent. Although this number may seem insignificant, when weighed against millions of patients worldwide, it suggests hospital safety checklists could save thousands of lives. In addition, researchers also discovered surgical safety checklists reduced hospital stays by almost a full day.

Why Surgical Safety Checklists Are Necessary

Our recent blogs show that most medical mistakes are avoidable. Hospitals should implement policies that help medical professionals prevent medical errors. Patient safety should always remain a top priority.

Shapiro Law Group is a Tampa Bay-based medical malpractice law firm with decades of experience helping the victims of medical negligence.

Tags: PatientSafety


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