New Surgical Law to Ensure Patient Safety - KCBD NewsChannel 11 Lubbock

7/1/04

New Surgical Law to Ensure Patient Safety

It's mandate that was handed down from the Joint Commission on the Accreditation of Healthcare Organizations (J.C.A.H.C.O.). And if a hospital wants to keep its accreditation, they must follow these new laws. NewsChannel 11 visited UMC and one surgeon we talked to says it's common practice to keep check lists before surgery.

Doctor Robert Schutt has been an Orthopedic Surgeon for 22 years and says check lists before surgery in his line of work is important. "Well, unfortunately, Orthopedic Surgeons take care of patients that have two arms, two legs, ten fingers and toes. Historically there have been situation where the wrong arm or wrong leg or wrong finger was been operated on," says Dr. Schutt.

A new set of rules put in place by the J.C.A.H.C.O. require all surgeons to stop and take a time out in the operating room and go over a check list. This list is to ensure patient safety during a critical time. "The surgeons take a time out and pause once the patient is draped, before there is an incision. The surgeon verifies this is the right patient, verifies the identity, procedure and place of surgery," said Greg Bruce, UMC Division Director of Public Relations.

Prior to surgery and even before entering the operating room, surgeons must double check where, on the patient, will he or she be operated. But as for surgeons like Dr. Schutt, these new rules are nothing new to him. "It changes our practice in now way. It's been the routine for a period of time here at UMC," said Dr. Schutt.

The agency that made these new rules hopes they will go a long way in eliminating the wrong surgeries on the wrong patients.

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