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New book aims to reduce surgical errors

A new book that focuses on decision making, communication and situational awareness in the operating room could save lives in Ohio and worldwide. The book, which was published by researchers at the University of Aberdeen in the United Kingdom, aims to reduce the number of non-technical "adverse events" that are caused by doctors and other medical staff during surgeries each year.

Approximately 12 percent of hospital patients experience an adverse event, and half of those are linked to surgery. Surgical adverse events are any mistake made by health care professionals during an operation, including wrong-site surgery, leaving sponges or instruments in a patient's body, drug errors and even death. According to studies, many of these events take place due to non-technical mistakes, such as lack of teamwork or cognitive errors.

The editors of "Enhancing Surgical Performance: A Primer in Non-Technical Skills" spent the last 12 years identifying the non-technical skills of surgical theater staff and developing a framework that supports the behaviors necessary for a successful operation. The book includes skills frameworks for surgeons, anesthesiologists and scrub practitioners and focuses on leadership, decision making, team work and situational awareness. The system was tested in hospitals across Aberdeen, Glasgow, Inverness and Edinburgh. It is aimed at surgeons in all specialties and at all levels of experience.

Despite efforts to eliminate medical mistakes, surgical errors and other forms of medical malpractice still regularly occur. A patient who has been harmed by a mistake during a surgical procedure may want to speak with an attorney who has experience in this area in order to determine the legal recourse that may exist for the recovery of compensation for the damages that have been sustained as a result of such error.

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