Surgeries of all types, whether minor or major, involve a variety of risks. One of the most common—and serious—are surgical site infections. According to the World Health Organization (WHO), a non-profit group promoting health safety issues across the world, in the United States surgical site infections are the second leading cause of hospital-acquired infections. To help counteract this problem, WHO has released a blueprint to prevent this dangerous, yet common, preventable medical error. In this post, Chicago medical malpractice lawyer will discuss the WHO plan and how it intends to address this serious problem.
In November WHO released a 29 step plan to counter surgical site infections. The plan addresses issues from both the healthcare provider and patient.
Harmful bacteria can get transmitted to patients before, during, and after a surgical procedure. In the United States, surgical site infections are responsible for nearly 400,000 extra hospital days, and cost $900 million annually. Since infection can occur at any stage of the hospital stay, these guidelines include action plans that address issues both inside and outside the operation room.
Follow proper procedures before and after the surgery to reduce infections
Here are a few the steps hospitals should take before surgery to prevent surgical site infections:
- Patients should shower or bathe prior to surgery
- If hair needs to be removed, it should not be done with a razor, not with a clipper
- Proper and adequate hand washing by the staff, using an alcohol-based hand rub or antimicrobial soap
One of the important post-surgical recommendations is that antibiotics should not be given to patients unless absolutely necessary because this can cause antibiotic resistance. Patients should also ask the surgeon if they are following these new WHO recommendations.
WHO surgical safety checklist
Apart from this new plan to prevent surgical site infections, WHO published a surgical safety checklist for the hospital to help prevent other surgical errors. The checklist includes points such as having the patient to confirm his/her identity and the procedure name, confirm sterility procedures, double check anesthesia equipment, and other important steps.
Preventable surgical errors, including surgical site infections, can occur when the healthcare providers fail to meet the normal standards of care. This can have life-threatening consequences for the patient who has trusted the doctors with their life.
If you were injured, or someone close to you died, during or after a surgery, and you think that it could have resulted from a healthcare provider or the hospital failed to meet the standard of care, you should discuss your case with a competent Chicago medical malpractice lawyer. The lawyer will advocate your rights and ensure that you are adequately compensated for your losses.