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Jason R. Schultz P.C

Surgery Error Prevention: The Surgery Time Out Process


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11/13/2014
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Medical errors kill nearly 100,000 Americans each year and injure far more, according to an Institute of Medicine report. Many of the mistakes that harm patients are made during surgery, such as wrong site, wrong patient, or wrong limb surgery.

In an effort to reduce medical errors in the operating room, many hospitals are using what’s called the “Time Out” process, also referred to as the “Safety Pause” or the “Huddle.”

The Surgery Time Out Process Protocol and Efficacy

The Time Out process is a series of steps that the medical team runs through prior to a surgery to make sure everyone is on the same page. They double-check that they are operating on the correct patient and the correct body part.

Below are some of the steps included in the Time Out protocol.

  • Check medical records
  • Review imaging studies
  • Identify and review any implants
  • Address any missing information or discrepancies
  • Mark the operative site (preferably while the patient is awake)

Lastly, just before surgery, there should be a final overview to check the facts once more. “‘Time Out' immediately before starting the surgical procedure - Conduct a final verification by at least two (2) members of the surgical team confirming the correct patient, surgery, site marking(s) and, as applicable,implants and special equipment or requirements. As a ‘fail-safe' measure, the surgical procedure is not started until any and all questions or concerns are resolved,” the American Association for Accreditation of Ambulatory Surgery Facilities instructs medical staff.

Employing the time out before surgery saves lives. According to a study published in The New England Journal of Medicine, using the Time Out process reduced surgical complications by over one-third (and death rates by a similar percentage) in the hospitals participating in a study by the Safe Surgery Saves Lives Study Group.

Surgical Error Malpractice Attorney in Peachtree City

If you suffered injury because of mistake made during your surgery, contact the Law Office of Jason Schultz in Peachtree City for a free consultation today at 404-474-0804.



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