Montana residents may be interested to know that postoperative complications can be reduced following invasive surgeries if the surgical team employs the use of what is normatively called in the medical world a surgical safety checklist. This is according to findings in a study published in the American Society of Anesthesiologists’ medical journal.

In order to reduce surgical errors, the checklist identifies certain explicit tasks that need to be completed during three different phases of a typical surgery. The first phase is before anesthesia is administered, the second phase is before any skin incisions are performed, and the last is before the patient leaves the operating theater. According to the medical journal’s review, it turns out that something as simple as a checklist during surgery can help minimize some of the most common problems that face patients post-surgery.

Two of the most common issues are significant blood loss and infections. Surprisingly, even though employing the use of checklists is considered a best practice in the field of surgery, their use by surgery teams is not consistent since it is often not mandatory.

The data for the study was corralled from seven other published studies, all independent, that observed the efficacy of surgical safety checklists when used by surgical teams. The results covered a total of over 37,000 surgery patients. The data was not restricted to emergency surgery but also included patients who underwent elective surgery. In every case, the World Health Organization’s official Surgical Safety Checklist was used or, in some cases, a modified version of it was used.

An examination of the results indicated that overall postoperative complications were reduced by nearly four percent, which translates to one prevented complication for every 27 surgery patients. Clearly, surgical safety checklists can help avoid instances of careless medical care. However, despite such steps a surgical error can still happen, especially if these tools aren’t being utilized consistently.

When errors do occur, the patient and patient’s family often suffer tremendously. For any Montana resident who believes an error may have occurred during surgery, a Montana medical malpractice law firm can provide the most up-to-date information.

Source: Infection Control Today, “Surgical safety checklists significantly reduce post-op complications, new review finds,” May 20, 2014