The World Health Organization (WHO) has created and distributed a Surgical Safety Checklist to be used by healthcare facilities around the globe. The checklist is written in English, Spanish, Chinese, Arabic, Russian, and French. It is actually three separate checklists corresponding to the three different surgical phases. It’s design is practical and to should be a key tool in every surgical procedure. The three phases are 1)Before Induction of Anaesthesia, 2)Before Skin Incision, and 3)Before Patient Leaves the Operating Room.
Phase 1 includes the following questions to be checked off before moving to the second phase: a)Has the patient confirmed his/her identity, site, procedure, and consent? b)Is the site marked? c)Is the anaesthesia machine and medication check complete? d)Is the pulse oximeter on the patient and functioning? e)Does the patient have a known allergy, difficult airway or aspiration risk?
Phase 2 includes the following: a)Confirm all team members have introduced themselves to the patient and their role in the procedure, b)Confirm the patient’s name, procedure, and where the incision will be made, c)Anticipated Critical Events for the surgeon, anaesthetist, and the nursing team, d)Is essential imaging displayed?
The final phase concerns the immediate post-surgery checklist which includes the following: a)the nurse confirms the name of the procedure performed, b)completion of instrument, sponge and needle counts, c)specimen labeling, d)any equipment problems to be addressed, e)key concerns for the recovery of the patient.
These checklists are designed to avoid the preventable medical errors that so often lead to medical malpractice lawsuits. When they are implemented and used properly, the patient receives better care and there’s a marked reduction in medical mistakes.
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