WHO issues a surgical checklist.

A lot has been written about surgical errors during operation including incidents of left behind surgical instruments, wrong site surgery, operating on wrong patients and so on.

The WHO has issued a checklist which it hopes will go a long way in reducing such errors by enforcing a ‘time out’ when all personnel participating in a procedure will check and mark on the checklist ensuring compliance of necessary formalities. Such checks are further made at the end of procedure.

I agree that such checklists and timeouts will be quite helpful in reducing the number of errors but surgeons are resourceful and dogged of determination; they will find a way around this.

As an aside if you have read books by Atul Gawande you will be aware of his fascination for idea of checklist similar to those used by the Aviation industry(very effective) to reduce medical errors. His Harvard group and folks at IHI and The International Society for Quality in Health Care have been quite active at getting this off the ground.

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