Why are doctors required to perform a time-out procedure pre-surgery?

by | Jun 7, 2021 | Medical malpractice

Ask any professional who has to perform highly technical work-related tasks. They’ll likely tell you that there’s either a step-by-step procedure or game plan they must develop when carrying certain activities out. Surgeons aren’t exempt from this.

These doctors must understand the procedure they’re going to perform, how it will hopefully benefit the patient and a strategy for how they’re going to carry it out before cutting into a patient. A time-out procedure can allow the surgeon to reflect on these issues and discuss them with their medical team.

This time-out can minimize the chances of a wrong site, person or procedure error occurring.

Do wrong site, person or procedure errors really occur?

There are instances in which doctors have operated on the wrong patient, performed the incorrect procedure or completed the surgery at a different site from where it should have occurred. These procedures are known as “never” events because they shouldn’t ever occur.

Why do “never” events keep happening?

Medical researchers suggest that surgeons and their medical team members could eliminate these never events if they took time to perform time-out procedures. They note that doctors don’t carry these out as they should often enough, though.

They note that this is particularly the case if an operation is complex. It may have so many stages that doctors and medical team members are working in shifts, picking up where the other left off. Doctors may also feel rushed and hurry through the time-out procedure (or skip it entirely).

Your rights if you suffer a surgical mistake

There’s no justification for the negligence that results in a wrong site, person or procedure incident. Pennsylvania medical malpractice laws may allow you to recover compensation in situations like these. Your choice to pursue litigation may reduce the chances of something similar happening to both you and others.