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Preventing surgical errors in the O.R.

Surgical errors are a major cause for concern in New York and in states across the country. According to a study performed by Johns Hopkins University, at least 4,000 mistakes occur in the operating room every year, as reported in Medical News Today. The numbers are thought to be much larger, however, as many surgical errors go unreported and even undiscovered. These medical mistakes are the result of miscommunication, oversight, and in some cases, complete negligence.

Many medical facilities across the country have implemented certain guidelines and procedures to help reduce the likelihood that an error will occur in the O.R. Before taking patients in for surgery, medical professionals should speak with the patient and verify the following:

  •          Medical history, including allergies to medications
  •          Type of surgery being performed
  •          Exact location of the surgical site

Some mistakes that occur in the operating room involve operating on the wrong body part, and performing the wrong procedure on the wrong patient. By verifying this information, surgeons may be able to avoid a fatal situation.

Timeouts in a chaotic operating room can help surgical staff to account for all pieces of equipment, such as surgical sponges and forceps. A USA Today report reported that thousands of people have surgical items left behind in their bodies after they leave the operating room. These retained surgical items can cause severe infection, and may result in loss of life.

When medical facilities, surgeons and operating room staff take the time to implement certain safety precautions, it can lower the risk of surgical errors and ultimately save lives. 

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