Ensuring patient safety during surgery

By Karen Abernathy – bio | email

GULFPORT, MS (WLOX) - This time of year surgical suites are filled with patients who have met their deductibles, who are trying to get in their surgeries before the end of the year.  And there are safety measures in place, to help keep them safe, every step of the way.

Officials at Garden Park Medical Center in Gulfport want patients to be patient, when it comes to answering questions before their surgery.   And there are a lot of questions.  In fact a patient may be asked their name, birth date, what procedure is being performed, and questions about allergies several times on the day of their surgery.

The questions may seem redundant, but if they are not getting asked, the patient may not be getting the best care, and mistakes are more likely. That's according to director of Peri Operative Services at Garden Park Medical Center,  Ron Perritt.  "We want to insure every step of the way that we have the right patient, the right day, the right surgery, and the right site."

Perritt said wrong site surgeries are a significant problem in the U.S., but a program known as "time out" has been in place for about ten years,  to help keep patients safer. He said because of its success rate, time out should now be standard practice in hospitals.

"It's like a toolbox for safety.  What it is a methodical technique you use to identify the patient, identify the site, the side, making sure you are operating on the right person," said Perritt.

The seemingly obvious questions are repeated every step of the way, even after the patient arrives in the operating room.  "In the OR, we actually do two complete time outs. At that time all the people in the OR, surgeon, anesthesia, assistants, all pause to stop and review everything that has to be done to that patient, and then verbally acknowledge before making that incision."

Perritt said that a better informed patient is a safer patient, and he hopes by sharing this information patients will understand the process better, and know what to expect when they show up for surgery.

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