Reducing Surgical Errors Through Checklists

According to a study recently published in the Annals of Surgery, there is a relatively painless way to keep surgical errors in check. By using surgical checklists, health care practitioners are able to prevent mistakes made during operations - which ultimately can reduce the amount of medical malpractice liability incurred.

In the study, researchers looked at successful insurance claims that were the result of surgical mistakes made in medical facilities in the Netherlands from 2004 to 2005. They then compared these 294 surgical errors to SURPASS - a surgical checklist that is used in hospitals in the Netherlands - and found that many of the errors were addressed on the checklist and could have been prevented if the system had been used.

Similarly, surgery patients in the United States are often the victims of surgical errors - which costs the country tens of thousands of lives and over $55 billion in medical liability. By adopting checklists, medical experts believe that both lives and money can be saved in the American health care system.

"This kind of evidence indicates that surgeons who do not use one of these checklists are endangering patients," Atul Gawande, from the Harvard School of Public Health, told Reuters. "The message for hospitals is you want to adopt one of these checklists."

Contact a Personal Injury Attorney

Although these precautions can help to reduce medical errors, mistakes are still frequently made during surgeries. If you have been the victim of a surgical error, a medical malpractice attorney can advise you of your rights and help you collect a settlement for the damages you suffered.