February 21, 2013 /24-7PressRelease/
-- Distractions lead to greater risk of surgical errors in operating room
Article provided by Julien & Schlesinger, P.C.
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We have all seen the scenarios played out in dramatic fashion on television and in movies -- a doctor performing a complicated surgery suddenly must respond to another emergency involving a different, equally high-risk patient. Although we may assume that these situations are created solely for the entertainment of the viewing public and bear little resemblance to a typical operating room, the premise of studies being conducted suggests distractions during surgery may be more common than we might hope.
A recent study conducted by Oregon Health & Science University examined the rate of surgical errors made by residents when they were faced with interruptions in the operating room.
Each of 18 surgical residents performed a procedure twice -- once in a controlled environment with no distractions and once with distractions common to the operating room. For instance, residents had to deal with a cellphone ringing and being answered in the same room. Other distractions included conversations between two other individuals in the room and noise created by a tray being dropped.
In addition, the residents were interrupted personally on two occasions -- once to ask about another patient and once to ask about their career choice. The distractions were timed to occur when the residents had to perform a particularly tricky portion of the procedure.
The residents involved in the study made eight times as many errors when they faced distractions than in the controlled environment. The study showed that residents were more likely to make errors when distracted after 1 p.m. Surprisingly, the study did not show that fatigue experienced by the residents impacted their ability to successfully perform the surgeries, whether distracted or not.
Another study from the Division of Cardiovascular Surgery at the Mayo Clinic in 2007 had similar results. The study examined typical disruptions to the flow of surgery during 31 cardiac procedures and recorded surgical errors made during the operations. The study concluded that as the number of "flow disruptions" increased, a corresponding rise in the number of surgical errors was noted.
Surgical errors pose serious hazards for patients
According to the World Health Organization, across 56 countries around the world, between 187 and 281 million surgical operations are performed each year. The WHO has estimated that major complications occur following between 3 and 22 percent of all inpatient surgical procedures conducted in industrialized nations. Of those, almost 50 percent of the complications could have been prevented.
Consequently, it is critical for surgeons to develop methods to reduce the risk of complications, which may now include the necessity to decrease the number of distractions taking place within the operating room.
If you or a loved one has been injured due to a surgical error, consulting with a skilled New York personal injury attorney will ensure your rights are protected.---
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