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Save Surgery Saves Lives

Five facts about surgical safety

    1. Complications after inpatient operations occur in up to 25% of patients.
    2. The reported crude mortality rate after major surgery is 0.5–5%.
    3. In industrialized countries, nearly half of all adverse events in hospitalized patients are related to surgical care.
    4. At least half of the cases in which surgery led to harm are considered to be preventable.
    5. Known principles of surgical safety are inconsistently applied even in the most sophisticated settings.

Safe Surgery Saves Lives is an initiative to reduce patient
harm through safer surgical care. Every hospital or surgical team are invited to take up this challenge which includes:

    • 10 essential objectives for safe surgery,
    • 5 surgical ‘vital statistics’ to measure progress, and
    • 1 Surgical Safety Checklist for each surgical procedure.

10 objectives for a safe surgery

    1. The team will operate on the correct patient at the correct site.
    2. The team will use methods known to prevent harm from an anesthetic administration while protecting the patient from pain.
    3. The team will recognize and effectively prepare for a life-threatening loss of airway or respiratory function.
    4. The team will recognize and effectively prepare for the risk of high blood loss.
    5. The team will avoid inducing an allergic or adverse drug reaction known to be a significant risk to the patient.
    6. The team will consistently use methods known to minimize the risk of surgical site infection.
    7. The team will prevent inadvertent retention of sponges or instruments in surgical wounds.
    8. The team will secure and accurately identify all surgical specimens.
    9. The team will effectively communicate and exchange critical patient information for the safe conduct of the operation.
    10. Hospitals and public health systems will establish routine surveillance of surgical capacity, volume, and results.

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