A New York Medical Malpractice Lawyer Wants You to Know How a Simple Surgical Checklist Could Prevent a Deadly Mistake

Think back to your earliest years of education. You were taught to work well independently but also in a team. You were taught to double check your work to ensure that there were no preventable errors. Those primary lessons were ones that were meant to be important throughout your life, no matter what profession you decided to enter.

Surgery is no exception. As a New York medical malpractice attorney I expect, and as a patient you should expect, that your surgical team work together to ensure that no mistakes are made in your care.

Recent Study Supports Surgical Checklists and Teamwork

A recent study published in the Journal of the American Medical Association supports both checklists and teamwork.* The study of 74 VA hospitals found that surgery checklists and cooperative teamwork were important in preventing mistakes and patient deaths. Specifically, the study found that:
  • Surgery deaths dropped 18% when cooperative checklists were used.
  • Death rates were lowest for surgical teams that had the most teamwork training.

Why Surgical Checklists Work

Surgical checklists force surgical teams to slow down and double check what they are about to do before they do it. For example, a surgical checklist may require the team to confirm a patient's identity, confirm the operation that is about to occur, and confirm medications that the patient is taking prior to the operation. The checklists may also require surgeons to listen to nurses and other staff members if concerns about patient safety are raised.

Surgical checklists will not prevent every surgical mistake, but they are a low cost, common sense method of improving patient outcomes.

If you have been the victim of a surgical mistake in New York then you may be entitled to damages. Please contact an experienced New York medical malpractice lawyer at The Pagan Law Firm by calling 1-800-PAGAN-911 for more information.

*Source: Association Between Implementation of a Medical Team Training Program and Surgical Mortality, Julia Neily, Peter D. Mills, Yinong Young-Xu, Brian T. Carney, Priscilla West, David H. Berger, Lisa M. Mazzia, Douglas E. Paull, James P. Bagian, JAMA 2010;304(15):1693-1700.