Sunday, October 4, 2009

Le mois d'Octobre

It's been a rather nice fall so far in Halifax. Nice, generally sunny weather (today's being a notable exception), and I've been enjoying Med 2 a lot so far. I've finally scrubbed into surgery and it's been great. Really great. I'll have to write more soon, but this appears to be the direction in which OR procedures are going:
Next time you go in for surgery, don't be surprised if the surgeon and staff introduce themselves before you go under the scalpel.

It's just one of the 26 tasks on a surgical safety checklist that hospitals across the province will be required to implement starting in January, because it has been proven to reduce patient complications and death.


The checklist includes common items such as requiring doctors and staff to check equipment, review patient information and resuscitation plans, and even identify themselves by name and role before they make their first cut.

The checklist will be mandatory for all surgeries in the province, and hospitals will be required to report twice a year on compliance.

The list is divided into three parts: tasks that must be completed before the anesthesia, before the first incision and before the patient leaves the operating room.
In case there's any concern that this sort of thing wasn't done previously, I can say that it's just a more systematic, formal way of approaching normal practice. But don't take my word for it:
"Everything on the checklist is a well-known standard of care," said Dr. Michael Baker, head of patient safety for the province, at a media briefing Thursday.

"There are no new ideas in the checklist," he said.

"The new idea is that the team needs to communicate and be obsessive-compulsive about the surgical process."
The video accompanying the article even has an example of a typical anesthesia monitor alarm. It helps remind me of the OR, and that I was taught (in Austria anyway) that the appropriate response to such alarms is to turn them off (I think it's an apnea alarm).