An article published in the December issue of the Journal of the American College of Surgery found decreases in some postoperative complications when surgical teams were trained in communication and to use a procedure check list.
Medscape: Checklists, Communication May Reduce Surgical Complications
Training surgical teams in communication and using a procedure checklist before, during, and after surgery may significantly decrease 30-day postoperative complications such as surgical site infections and bleeding requiring transfusions, according to a study conducted at 2 Connecticut medical centers. Lindsay A. Bliss, MD, general surgery resident at the University of Connecticut Health Center, Farmington, and colleagues report their results in an article, published in the December issue of the Journal of the American College of Surgery. The investigators compared the outcomes for 3 sets of surgeries: 73 in which the surgical team had participated in communications training and used a surgical checklist, 246 in which the team had not received the training but used a checklist, and 2079 that were drawn from the American College of Surgeons National Surgical Quality Improvement Program database for use as a baseline comparator (Hand, 12/7).
Meanwhile, a news report from the Los Angeles Times details how a heart surgeon caused five patients to contract infections during valve-replacement surgeries -
Los Angeles Times: Surgeon Infected Patients During Heart Procedure, Cedars-Sinai Admits
A heart surgeon at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center unwittingly infected five patients during valve replacement surgeries earlier this year, causing four of the patients to need a second operation. The infections occurred after tiny tears in the latex surgical gloves routinely worn by the doctor allowed bacteria from a skin inflammation on his hand to pass into the patients' hearts, according to the hospital. The patients survived the second operation and are still recovering, hospital officials said (Gorman, 12/8).
Also in the news, a new study finds survival chances increase when patients enter the hospital via the emergency room during slower periods --