Does A Surgical Safety Checklist Protect Patients?
There are risks whenever someone undergoes surgery, no matter what part of the body, anesthesia type, and overall physical condition of the patient. Unfortunately, the risks increase and may even be caused by surgical errors. Mistakes with surgery are more common than you might think, as statistics indicate that surgeons commit more than 4,000 errors every year. Around 60 percent of patients will endure some temporary harm from the mishap, which still has life-changing implications. However, the remaining 40 percent of patients affected by surgical errors will sustain permanent disability or death.
To prevent mistakes in the OR, the medical profession has established a checklist for performing surgery. These are the policies that the team addresses during their pre-op routine, as they enter the surgical center, during the procedure, and after completing surgery. Failing to check off the items increases the potential for problems, but it could also be an indication of negligence. A Tampa surgical errors attorney can explain your rights under Florida law, and some background on the surgical safety checklist is helpful.
Safety Checklist for Surgical Teams: Your surgical team will go through steps according to three time periods surrounding the procedure:
- Sign-In: There are a few items to check off before you undergo anesthesia, so staff will confirm who you are and ensure that you understand informed consent to the procedure. They will also ask whether you followed important instructions before surgery, such as not eating after midnight.
- During the Procedure: Though you might be under general anesthesia, your surgeon and the team will continue with the surgical checklist. They will count surgical instruments, inspect devices, and communicate their completion of different steps in the procedure.
- Sign-Out: Before you are released, the surgical staff will review its checklist to conclude the surgery. They conduct a recount of all instruments, devices, and implants, comparing them to the pre-surgery inventory. The team will also complete all documentation for purposes of your medical records.
Deviations from the Surgical Safety Checklist: The actual checklist that surgical teams use for procedures is much more detailed than the overview above, and there are multiple variations based upon the type of surgery. However, surgical safety guidelines have become standard practice in this medical specialty area. Failure to follow the checklist could be a deviation from what a reasonably prudent surgeon would do. This is the basis for recovering damages under the Florida medical negligence statute.
If your surgeon deviated from the standard of care by not implementing the guidelines, you may qualify to recover:
- Medical expenses to treat your injuries;
- Lost income if you were unable to work;
- Pain and suffering;
- Scarring and disfigurement; and,
- Emotional distress.
Reach Out to Our Florida Surgical Errors Lawyers Today
To learn more about your rights after suffering harm during surgery, please contact Greco & Wozniak P.A. You can reach our offices in Tampa, FL by calling 813.223.7849 or going online. We can set up a free consultation to discuss your remedies and the legal process.