Surgical checklist launched.
Article Type: Brief article
Subject: Quality control (Methods)
Surgical errors (Prevention)
Pub Date: 08/01/2008
Publication: Name: South African Journal of Surgery Publisher: South African Medical Association Audience: Academic Format: Magazine/Journal Subject: Health Copyright: COPYRIGHT 2008 South African Medical Association ISSN: 0038-2361
Issue: Date: August, 2008 Source Volume: 46 Source Issue: 3
Topic: Event Code: 360 Services information Computer Subject: Quality control
Product: Product Code: 9913300 Quality Control Management
Organization: Organization: World Health Organization
Geographic: Geographic Scope: South Africa Geographic Code: 6SOUT South Africa
Accession Number: 204550626
Full Text: A checklist identifying a set of surgical safety standards for surgical teams to use in operating theatres was launched recently by the World Health Organization (WHO).

Developed by the Safe Surgery Saves Lives initiative under the leadership of Dr Atul Gawande, a surgeon and professor at the Harvard School of Public Health, the checklist is part of a major drive to make surgery safer worldwide.

Major surgery is occurring at a rate of 234 million procedures per year--one for every 25 people--and studies indicate that a significant percentage of these resulting preventable complications and deaths. In developing countries, for example, death rates during major operations are believed to be between 5% and 10%, and in parts of sub-Saharan Africa mortality from general anaesthesia alone is reported to be as high as 1 in 150.

The checklist identifies three phases of an operation: before the induction of anaesthesia ('sign in'), before the incision of the skin ('time out') and before the patient leaves the operating room ('sign out'). In each phase, a checklist co-ordinator must confirm that the surgery team has completed the listed tasks before it proceeds with the operation.

The checklist is being piloted at 8 sites around the world. The pilot site in Africa is the St Francis Designated District Hospital in Ifakara, Tanzania --a public hospital with the capacity to handle 370 permanent patients as well as 600 adults and 300 children daily.

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