The Associated Press reported an investigation involving the amputation of the wrong leg in an Austrian hospital. The woman lost both legs since doctors later also had to amputate her sick limb. Mistakes can happen before, during and after surgery. Being proactive is a good way to help avoid surgical errors. At Jackson area hospitals a number of safety standards are in place to avoid these types of errors.
To be accredited hospitals and surgical facilities work closely with the joint commission in maintaining and improving patient safety. Here are ways to ensure surgical outcome is satisfactory.
Preparing For Your Surgery
Ask your doctor if there are any of your prescription medications that you should not take before surgery. Should you eat or drink before surgery? Should you remove artificial nails and dark thick nail polish? Write down any important questions to ask before surgery and take them with you when you see the doctor.
Make sure you have someone you trust to take you to your surgery and is willing to stay and take you home after surgery. Make sure that person can take you to appointments and get any prescriptions and stay with you after surgery.
Before you leave home for surgery make sure you have showered and washed hair. No make-up or nail polish should be worn (caregivers need to be able to check your skin color and nailbeds for blood circulation). Leave all jewelry, money and other valuables at home.
Before Your Surgery
You will be asked to sign an informed consent. For your safety you will be asked the same question many times. Make sure everything on the informed consent is correct and make sure all of your questions have been answered. If you do not understand something–speak up.
A health care professional will mark the spot where you are to be operated on. Make sure the mark is correct and in the right place no where else. This is done while you are awake, however if that is not possible a family member, friend or other health care worker may witness the marking making sure the correct body part is marked.
Time out is required before surgery at St Dominic Hospital. You can ask to make sure the surgeon takes a time out before your surgery. This is done to make sure they are doing the right surgery on the right body part and the right person.
After Your Surgery
Tell the health care provider about your pain. Surgical facilities that are accredited by the Joint Commission must provide pain relief. Ask questions about medications you are given. Make sure they know about any medication allergies. If you are given any iv medications make sure you know how long the bag of fluid is supposed to drip and what is in the bag.
Ask about therapies, resuming activities like work exercise and travel. Ask about medicines you will need to take after leaving the hospital.
Your safety is important to you and It’s important to Healthcare providers and Hospitals. Being proactive and asking questions will help you feel more confident and avoid surgical errors.