Indiana Injury Lawyer Blog

Study: Patients Prefer Surgery Checklist to be Completed in Front of Them

Most patients prefer that their pre-surgery checklists be performed and completed in front of them. A new study finds that more and more patients prefer to be well-informed and in some control of the decisions that impact their safety in hospitals.

Surgical errors, in most cases, are avoidable. These errors can range from wrong site surgeries and wrong patient surgeries which are rare and some of the most avoidable adverse events that can occur in a hospital, to medication errors or anesthesia errors.

Anesthesiologists are required to perform pre –surgery checklists to minimize the risk of complications after the administration of anesthesia. The checklist allows anesthesiologists to make sure they have the patient’s name and procedure details down accurately. They also take the patient’s consent, and make sure that this is checked off the list before moving ahead with the surgery. The checklist also allows anesthesiologists to ensure that the patient has no known allergies, and if the patient has taken any antibiotic drugs in the hours before the surgery.

All of these checks are in place to help reduce the risk of errors which can lead to possible serious and even fatal, complications. In 2008, the World Health Organization launched the “Safe Surgeries Safe Lives” program that promotes the use of checklists among other things, to help minimize the risk of avoidable errors that harm patients.

The recent study, whose findings were published recently in the European Journal of Anesthesiology, was conducted by researchers at Bern University in Switzerland.  The researchers asked 125 patients, who were scheduled for surgery, a number of questions including whether they wished their checklists to be done in front of them.

The researchers found that patients overwhelmingly are in favor of checklists being done in front of them. Anesthesiologists typically prefer to perform these checklists outside the patient’s presence, fearing that this may cause anxiety to the patient. However, the results of the study find that this fear is unfounded. Many patients feel much more comfortable when they are made part of the checklist process. The study found that patients, in fact, welcome the use of checklists in front of them, and believe that the use of checklists before the induction of anesthesia helps to reduce the risk of errors and complications.