I think every time we read about one of these stories we all just sit back and to some degree scratch our head, how did this occur again? This hospital has had a few more than their share and has been in the news of late regarding this issue.
I am on the technology side of healthcare here, but in the midst of working I have conversations with many in health care, as it’s how I learn a lot too, so thank goodness conversation is always there. If I never did any listening I would never have anything to talk about.
I had a conversation not too long ago with an assisting surgeon in the orthopedic area , who does this a few days a week in addition to running a family practice. The physician was commenting on what was referenced as a particularly heavy day for knee surgeries and it was something somewhat new being done at the hospital. From 7:00 am until 1:00 pm there were 7 knee surgeries scheduled, all for the same surgeon and assisting surgeon. Again, I understand that the depth and procedures of each one can and will vary from some being simplistic in nature to others being pretty complicated.
In just my thinking alone I thought 7 knees in 7 hours, well that seems like a pretty heavy workload, with the surgeon leaving and going to the next patient as soon as he was finished and leaving the assisting surgeon to finish and stitch up, which brings me to my question here, is there enough time for surgeons in between surgeries? Each case is unique by all means, but does this allow the surgeon enough time to adequately prepare and read up before each procedure, and maybe one quick cup of coffee for good measure? Of course there’s always the chance of complications too, but let’s say this was a normal day with nothing out of the ordinary.
Sure there is a time out, which thank goodness is there by all means, but is there enough time out for surgeons sometimes in between surgeries to clear their head and prepare for the next case? This I guess is more of a question of sorts as I think of every component that goes into preparation, the surgical staff, etc. and there is no doubt that the surgeon is very dependent on the accuracy of the work performed by others.
Anyone is welcome to chime in here, but it was just something that I gave some thought, do they have time for a quick time out of their own for 5 minutes or so without a chart in front of them without disruptions before proceeding to the next patient and that could apply to the whole surgical staff for that matter. Perhaps is this a contributing factor? As humans we can all be physically present but our minds can be miles away. BD
A doctor at the Miriam Hospital yesterday operated on the wrong knee of a patient undergoing elective surgery, despite the hospital’s increased focus on preventing such wrong-site surgeries.
The surgical team had apparently followed the key safety protocols, including marking the correct knee and pausing to verify the site before operating –– but somehow still made the error, according to Dr. Kathleen C. Hittner, hospital president and chief executive officer.