As hospitals become busier and try to squeeze more and more surgeries into a single day, surgeons have found that they have less time with each individual patient. In addition, there is less time to spend with each chart before surgery happens. These two things increase the chances that something will get missed in the planning stages of a surgery as well as the day of the surgery. To combat these problems, there are a couple of things that anyone considering surgery should do before every going into a hospital.
Within the last 24 months, there have been a huge number of surgical errors. Doctors in Minnesota removed a healthy kidney from a cancer patient, leaving the unhealthy one behind. A Boston doctor operated on the completely wrong side of the patient. And a California doctor removed the appendix on the wrong person.
The first thing any potential surgical patient needs to do before checking into a hospital or surgical center is to check out both the doctor and the hospital. Knowing how many times the doctor has performed the specific surgery is very important as it can be used to compare to other doctors. In addition, homework can be done. Hospitals and doctors are rated by a number of agencies, by both type and center.
Next, once in the hospital it is important to tell everyone and anyone that comes into the room your name, date of birth, and the surgery that is happening. This can make a huge difference in preventing an individual from being given the surgery intended for someone down the hall. It can also make sure that a person’s chart says the same surgery as the person that is having the surgery.
Third, have the doctor initial the surgery site. The American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons highly recommends having the surgeon performing the surgery initial the part of the body directly above the surgical site. The surgeon has to do this though, not an intern or a nurse.
In the same vein of prevention, it is important to confirm the surgery site and the surgery right before the procedure occurs. The nurse may have already confirmed everything but ensuring that the surgeon knows exactly what he or she is supposed to be doing on the specific patient is extremely beneficial.
Finally, train someone to act as your advocate. Most people will have someone sitting in the hospital during their surgery. Give this person something to do by training them with all of the information they need to help their friend or family member.