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Why doctors are required to perform time-outs pre-surgery

On Behalf of | Jun 5, 2020 | Medical Malpractice

Just like mechanics need to have a game plan before performing any work on a vehicle, doctors also need to have an understanding of and strategy for the procedures that they’re going to perform before starting to operate on a patient.

Doctors learn to take a time out period before a medical procedure begins to allow the entire surgical team to reset or reboot before taking any action. Doing this allows the physician to confirm that they’ll be working on the right patient, performing the correct procedure and at the designated site.

There’s no justification or excuse for a wrong site or person or incorrect procedure error. There’s zero-tolerance for these types of events. It can stain the reputation of the doctor, staff and the hospital involved. These types of mistakes often end up with one of these parties getting sued for medical malpractice.

It’s quite possible that not all surgical team members will be working on the patient at the same time. Complex surgeries may happen in stages, with team members swapping in and out. Some team members might not even see each other during the operation. It’s not uncommon for there to be poor communication between team members before, during and after the procedure because of this. Mistakes often happen as a result.

Doctors should take the initiative in such instances and have their team members exchange any critical information. It’s not always possible for a physician to monitor to make sure that this happens, though. Medical teams must acknowledge these shortfalls and craft a plan to minimize the risk of mistakes like this from happening.

Although instances are rare, there are more than enough individuals who fall victim to the wrong site or person or other types of incorrect procedure errors annually here in California. A medical malpractice attorney may advise you that you’re entitled to recover damages if you’ve been hurt due to your Redwood City health care team’s negligence. The damages that you’re entitled to may vary depending on the extent of your injuries and negligence involved.