Saturday, January 06, 2007

Please: Ask For a Time-Out

Pro-Per Herald™*010607-time-out
While driving to the hospital, I recently caught a part of Laura Ingraham show on radio. She was sharing her surgery experience. She said that she marked the part of her body to be operated on with a marker. She said this in a jocular way while making a very important point.
Joint Commission on Accreditation of Healthcare Organizations (JCAHO) has issued recommendations with a self-explanatory title: ‘Guidelines for Implementation of the Universal Protocol for the Prevention of Wrong Site, Wrong Procedure and Wrong Person Surgery’. An important part of those guidelines is that entire operative team should go through a check-list (before surgery) including: correct patient identity, correct side and site, agreement on the procedure to be done, correct patient position, availability of correct implants and any special equipment or special requirements.
These guidelines are in response to reports of avoidable medical mistakes. Some of the dramatic ones are those where a wrong leg is operated on, a wrong toe is removed, etc.
I propose a time-out requested by the patient. If you ever go to the hospital for a procedure, and staff comes to get you for the surgery, you should request for a time-out. One of the ways to do it could be: hey guys, let me introduce myself. I am John Doe. I am allergic to XYZ. I am here for repair of hernia in my left groin area. Is this what your records say?
When you go to a hospital, you are looking for the best care for you or your loved one. The best way to do that is by communicating a lot, and doing it well in a pleasant manner. And no, I do not see any problem with doing what Laura Ingraham did. Do you?
* Pro-Per™, pronounced as the word ‘proper’ is’s trademark for different services. Pro-Per™ is a combination of two words- Proactive and Person.


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