What surgical guidelines should a medical team take to prevent a patient mix-up before surgery?

Through proper surgical guidelines from the universal protocol, risk of harmful patient mix-ups may be reduced. Mixing up patients is one of the most preventable types of surgical errors that can happen. If there is a lack of patient safety in surgery and a mix-up occurs, victims may talk to a Peachtree City medical malpractice attorney to go over his or her legal options for recovery of damages by filing a medical malpractice claim.

Who should follow the universal protocol?

Whenever moderate sedation or anesthesia is required for an invasive procedure, the universal protocol should be followed. The protocol consists of three steps, all of which are focused on patient verification.

However, if a patient is undergoing an invasive procedure where moderate sedation or anesthesia isn’t necessary, then only one step in the universal protocol must be followed. The required step in this case is the last step, time-out (final verification).

What are the steps in the universal protocol?

The first surgical guideline is pre-operative or pre-procedure verification. This is when all medical documents are reviewed and any information that is missing or has a discrepancy is taken care of before the patient undergoes the procedure.

The first step in the universal protocol requires verifying the:

  • Identity of the patient at least two ways (such as with name and date-of-birth);
  • medical records (physical and history); and
  • signed consent, including the type of procedure being performed.

The second step is marking the site, preferably with the patient awake to see the site being marked. The mark (with a clear 'YES') should be done by the person who will actually be performing the surgery.

The last step is a time out, or final verification. This is when the surgeon and medical team stops and verifies yet again the correct patient, procedure, consent, site, side, patient position and availability of any necessary equipment.

However, these steps are not required in an emergency situation. Regardless, it is still the responsibility of the medical staff to ensure patient safety in surgery and that the correct surgery is being performed on the correct patient.

How a Peachtree City Medical Malpractice Attorney Can Help

At the Law Office of Jason R. Schultz, a Peachtree City medical malpractice attorney can help victims of poor patient safety in surgery file a claim against the responsible party who did not follow proper surgical guidelines.