Medical Malpractice Wrongful Death Reduction – a Lawyer’s Checklist

Medical Malpractice Wrongful Death Reduction – a Lawyer’s Checklist

Recently, wrongful deaths were reduced by almost 50% and untoward personal injuries were reduced by over 35% by a 19-item non-cardiac surgical safety checklist. The New England Journal of Medicine reported this on January 29, 2009, by article, “A Surgical Safety Checklist to Reduce Morbility and Mortality in a Global Population.”

During October 2007-September 2008, roughly 4,000 patients in 8 urban hospitals worldwide participated in the World Health Organization’s Safe Surgery Saves Lives program. The study findings proved its premised, thereby indicating prevalent medical malpractice: “Surgical complications are common and often preventable.”

The checklist principally consists of verifying patient identity, allergies and blood type; surgical site, procedure, and critical events; and access to blood, imaging, and certain instrumentalities. Verification occurs before anesthesia induction, before skin incision, and before leaving the operating room.

The implication is that many wrongful deaths and personal injuries are caused by medical malpractice in non-cardiac surgery due to healthcare providers neglecting simple routine verification procedures. Fortunately, these serious untoward consequences are readily avoidable.