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Checklists Can Reduce Surgical Errors

People worry about a variety of things when entering a hospital for surgery or other medical procedures. They might worry about whether the treatment will be successful or how long it takes to recover. Some people have fears that they may not survive the operation. Most people don’t worry about wrong site surgery ― although it happens more frequently than one might think. In fact, department -to-department or team-to-team "handoffs" of hospital patients present many opportunities for this and similar errors. The good news is that ― as discussed in a recent report ― better communication by nursing and medical staff can minimize the occurrence of accidents like wrong site surgery, which cause unnecessary pain, discomfort and loss to patients.

Checklists improve standards

The report showed that checklists in surgical environments reduced the likelihood of errors. Although medical staff should be encouraged to trust their instincts and experience, it is hard to argue with evidence that shows that over 20% of steps are missed when checklists are not used, compared to 6% when they are.

During a single hospital stay, nearly every patient will encounter a variety of medical teams. As shifts change, nursing and medical staffs need to provide accurate information to their colleagues. Poor handoff communication allows errors to creep into patient care and can lead to medical negligence claims. Checklists can assist in ensuring that the right information is communicated and important details are not missed. Placing trust in the medical team is an important aspect of feeling confident in hospitals, but patients should not shy away from asking if the staff have carefully checked that everything is in place for their procedure or treatment.

If you or a family member has suffered injury due to an error in communication between medical staff then you may have a claim for medical negligence. Speak to a personal injury lawyer experienced in dealing with medical negligence claims. Hoffman DiMuzio is a law firm handling personal injury cases across New Jersey. Contact us for a free initial consultation.

Publication approved by Ernest L. Alvino, Jr., Esq., Associate of Hoffman DiMuzio

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