the VOA Special English Health Report.
around the world now perform more than two hundred thirty million major
operations every year. The World Health Organization says preventable injuries
and deaths from surgical care are a growing concern.
estimate that surgical complications result in at least one million deaths a
year. The W.H.O. says studies suggest that about half of these problems may be
agency hopes to reduce mistakes with a program built around a new Surgical
Gawande at the Harvard School of Public Health in Boston, Massachusetts, helped
develop the Safe Surgery Saves Lives program. He and other researchers studied records
from fifty-six countries.
thousand four, surgical complications in developed countries led to death in
less than one percent of cases. In developing countries, the rate was five to
can happen during an operation or after. For example, an infection might
develop after surgery.
than two hundred medical societies and health ministries are joined in the
effort to make surgery safer. The checklist is similar to what airplane pilots
use before takeoffs and landings.
member of the surgical team administers the checklist. The first questions are
asked before the patient receives anesthesia. The very first step is to confirm
the patient's identity and the operation to be performed.
are asked before the first cut. All members of the team are supposed to
introduce themselves by name and job. Another step is to confirm whether the
patient was given antibiotics within the last hour to prevent infection.
third and final part of the checklist is completed before the patient leaves
the operating room. For example, surgical items like sponges are counted to
make sure nothing is left inside the patient.
study locations worldwide, these tasks were being done only thirty-six percent
of the time. But the W.H.O. says use of the checklist increased that to
sixty-eight percent. Some hospitals reached almost one hundred percent.
results from one thousand patients showed a drop in complications and deaths.
Gawande says the checklist has helped him in his own surgery.
version of the checklist is expected by the end of the year. Britain, Ireland
and Jordan are among countries that have already announced plans to use it
the VOA Special English Health Report, written by Caty Weaver. I'm Steve Ember.