Researchers create new handbook to make surgery safer

Arizona surgical patients may be happy to learn that researchers from the University of Aberdeen in Scotland have created a handbook with the potential to make surgeries safer. They spent 12 years as a part of the group in testing and developing a system that focuses on the non-technical skills of surgeons and operating room staff.

According to estimates, as many as 12 percent of patients in hospitals experience what are called adverse events. These may include surgery on the wrong area or part of the body, drug mishaps, infections, surgical instruments or swabs being left in the body, or sometimes death. About half of reported adverse events are associated with surgery, and they often occur because of non-technical factors, including cognitive errors among the staff in the operating room or a simple lack of teamwork.

The University of Aberdeen researchers identified these non-technical skills, so the handbook focuses on the importance of making decisions, communicating in the operating room and remaining aware of the situation. The researchers also developed a behavioral rating system to evaluate these skills among surgeons, scrub nurses and anesthesiologists. Many medical professionals have adopted and implemented the system across the globe.

The research behind this handbook involved collaborations with consultant surgeons, scrub nurses and anesthesiologists from hospitals across Aberdeen, Dundee, Edinburgh, Glasgow and Inverness. The editors also delivered workshops and presentations at hospitals around the world.

Patients who undergo wrong-site surgery, get an infection, or have surgical instruments or swabs left inside of them because of negligence may want to discuss their legal remedies with a medical malpractice attorney. They might be entitled to compensation for their worsened medical condition related to the adverse event.