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Improving time outs can reduce risks for wrong-site surgeries

Ohio residents may be shocked to hear that analysts estimate there are roughly 20 to 40 wrong-site surgeries being performed every week in the U.S. Such errors are frequently made during orthopedic, dental and spinal surgeries. The most common type of WSS is the laterality surgery (on a left or right organ or extremity).

WSS is often the result of inadequate training, lack of teamwork, errors in communicating information through written and electronic orders, failure to educate on policies and a non-existent safety culture. Errors often occur in the preoperative area and, perhaps even more critically, during the “time out” that precedes surgery.

Medical centers are encouraged to create a safety-minded culture where all team members are able to voice safety concerns without fear. Furthermore, leaders should address all concerns immediately. It’s also wise to make the time out more inclusive and involve the patient. The team can then verify with the patient what the procedure will be, what site it will be performed on and on what side of the body.

As medical centers continue to do this, they can identify inconsistencies and other areas of possible improvement. For example, distractions in the OR and rushing against time can reduce the effectiveness of time outs.

In the event that an error does occur, the victim may be able to seek compensation from the at-fault medical center. This is where a medical malpractice injury lawyer may come in handy. Since malpractice claims often end in some pretty big settlements, there is bound to be strong opposition. The lawyer may handle negotiations.