Preoperative protocol can prevent wrong-site surgeries

On Behalf of | Sep 13, 2019 | Surgical Errors

No patient should ever experience a wrong-site surgery. There are too many options for medical teams to prevent this type of never event; however, workers don’t always follow safety guidelines. One primary control method for this situation is for workers to slow down. Apart from emergency cases, there isn’t any reason for speed to be a factor in the admission and preparation process.

Verbal instructions can become skewed. Using a system that requires written surgical instructions and verifying those instructions before the patient checking in for the procedure can help to prevent never events. This is especially important if the person is using a third-party scheduling office to book the appointment.

If the protocol allows handwritten orders, these must be legible. Anything that is unclear or that is crossed out must be verified. New documents might be necessary to increase patient safety.

Patients should be involved in the preoperative process. Site markings that show the surgery’s location should be standardized at the center. The surgeon should make the mark with an approved marker, and they should make them while the patient is still awake. The surgeon should verify the location and the surgery type with the patient.

More than one verification might be necessary. Sometimes, the surgeon checks and then at least one nurse plus the anesthesiologist will all ask the patient to confirm the information about the procedure.

Once the patient is under anesthesia, another review must be done, preferably during a surgical suite time-out, to verify what is happening. This enables the surgeon to ensure they aren’t getting patients confused, which is essential when they have a busy schedule.

When a patient suffers through a wrong-site surgery, they will have pain from the procedure. Then, they will have to do it again because the original issue still isn’t corrected. They might opt to pursue a medical malpractice lawsuit based on the damages, including the financial ones, that occur because of the surgeon’s error.


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