Medical Errors Often Start Small

From the Wall Street Journal Health Blog:

How does a doctor amputate a healthy limb or operate on the wrong side of the brain? Often, profound medical errors like these occur through a series of small mistakes, reports the Los Angeles Times. And with Medicare refusing to pay for some of the most egregious errors, or so-called “never events” as of Oct. 1, hospitals have fresh motivation to sweat the details.

Little changes can lead to big improvements in patient safety, says the LA Times. One successful strategy some hospitals use involves a checklist like pilots consult before takeoff and landings. Handwashing? Check. Wearing sterile gowns? Check. Some hospitals are taking their cues for better patient handoffs from auto racing pit crews, as the WSJ reported a while back.

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