Thursday, April 19, 2012

Avoiding Mistakes in your Surgery

The Joint Commission has a program called "Speak Up" which encourages patients to become more involved in their health care.

Part of the program focuses on how to help avoid mistakes in your surgery. Mistakes can easily happen during all types of surgeries; surgeons can operate on the wrong part of your body, they can perform the wrong surgery, or they can operate on the wrong patient.

When it comes to preparing for your surgery, keep these in mind:
  • Ask your doctor questions:
    • Will you be able to eat or drink after your surgery?
    • Are there any medications you should stop taking before your surgery?
    • What should I expect after surgery?
  • Ask someone you trust to:
    • Take you to and from the surgery facility.
    • Stay with you before, during, and after the surgery. They can make sure you get the right care you need.
  • Before you head to the surgery facility:
    • Leave valuables at home.
    • Shower and wash your hair. Also, do not wear any makeup so caregivers can check your blood circulation easily.
When you get to the surgery facility:
  • Make sure the consent form you sign has all of the right information.
  • The staff may ask you many questions (such as "What surgery are you having today?" and "Who are you?") multiple times to reduce the chance of a mistake happening.
  • If you don't understand any of the questions or are confused on what is on the consent form, speak up.
Before you have the surgery:
  • Make sure the mark that a health care professional puts on your body is on the correct place that will be operated on.
  • Ask you surgeon to have a "time out" before the surgery takes place. This will help them double check that they will be doing the right surgery on the right body part on the right patient.
After the surgery is finished:
  • Tell the health care staff if you are in any type of pain so they can relieve it.
  • Ask questions about the new medication you will be taking: What is it? What are the side effects? How often should I take it?
  • Make sure you ask when you can go back to your normal routine. Ask when you can go back to work, exercise or travel.

Snyder and Wenner, P.C.

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