Friday, January 23, 2009

Checklist Reduces Deaths in Surgery

A checklist for surgical teams can significantly lower the number of deaths and complications, researchers are reporting.

A year after surgical teams at eight hospitals adopted a 19-item checklist, the average patient death rate fell by more than 40 percent and the rate of complications fell by about a third, the researchers reported last week in the online edition of The New England Journal of Medicine.

The senior author of the study, Dr. Atul Gawande of the Harvard School of Public Health, said it was hard to identify which items were the most important. But even a small change, like having surgical team members take a moment to say who they are and what they do before scalpel touches skin, can have important consequences should one of them develop a concern during the operation.

The study was conducted over a year at hospitals in Canada, England, India, Jordan, New Zealand, the Philippines, Tanzania and the United States.

To see the New York Times article, click on:

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