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Protocol exists to reduce certain surgical errors

Patients who go in for a surgery expect that the surgeon knows what type of surgery they are doing and that they will operate on the appropriate body part. When there are issues with the surgery, there is a chance that the patient will suffer grave harm. Wrong site, wrong surgery and wrong patient are three primary errors that can occur in a surgical setting.

Surgeons, surgical staff and medical facilities must have appropriate protocol in place to ensure that patients don't have to face those types of errors. This can include various checks throughout the presurgical process, as well as a final verification immediately before the procedure is started.

Early checks

The earliest checks to verify what's going to happen should happen with the patient providing affirmations if the patient is awake. They can verify their name, date of birth and information about the surgery. The surgeon or another member of the medical team may mark the body part that's supposed to have the procedure. The patient can also verify this. Some surgical protocol might require having the patient initial the area if possible.

During this period, the patient can also receive information about the risks and benefits of the surgery. This is a chance to ensure that they know exactly what they're facing, so they can provide informed consent for a final time. If the procedure was scheduled, they might have already gone over this information, but it doesn't hurt to get it again.

Time out before the procedure

Universal Protocol says that the medical team needs to take a time out before the procedure. This should involve every person who is going to have a role during the procedure. It will likely occur at the bedside and should be done quickly but without rushing unless the procedure is an emergency.

As part of the time out, the team should all verify that they have the correct patient and go over the specifications of the procedure. The more people who verify that everything is correct, the less likely there is to be an issue.

Patients who are victims of wrong site, wrong procedure or wrong patient errors will likely have a long road to recovery. This can come with great emotional stress and financial impacts. Impacted individuals might choose to seek compensation for these damages by filing a medical malpractice claim. It is imperative that this is done swiftly since there are strict deadlines for these cases.

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