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Why is the time-out process so critical?

Medical errors can happen at any time. Doctors and scientists have long been working to come up with techniques or measures to minimize the risk of mistakes as much as they can. One such technique that has gained popularity in recent years is the time-out method. Those in the medical community developed this approach to help doctors reduce their chances of operating on the wrong patient or body part or performing an incorrect procedure on them.

The time out process requires a surgical team and medical staff to go through a series of checklists at various stages of any surgical procedure. The team may stop to review all pre-operation bloodwork or tests or to double-check that everyone understands what surgery the patient is undergoing. The team may take another time-out to ensure that no one left gauze or a surgical instrument inside of a patient before stitching them up.

Many medical facilities have been slow to implement time-out procedures at their facilities. Although some hospitals require doctors to perform them, they don't. Even if they do, they may unsuccessfully carry them out. Medical providers should have a verified plan of action, and all team members must know their role and effectively communicate with one another. It's not uncommon for team members to skip steps, though. They put patients' lives in danger by doing so.

Time-outs must occur once all staff members are present and can actively participate in them to be effective. It's not uncommon for staff members, such as those with seniority, to miss these periods, though. Others may perform them hastily or be distracted when they do them. Some staff members may be passive or fear reprisal if they speak up if they see something done wrong.

Hospitals and their staff can reduce the potential for harm to patients by lowering the risk of errors in the operating room. Open communication between hospital staff can minimize the chances of a patient suffering harm as well.

If your health deteriorated due to medical errors that occurred before, during or after your surgery, then you may be entitled to monetary damages here in Louisiana. The amount of financial compensation that you may be eligible to receive will vary depending on your case's unique aspects. An attorney can assess your health care records and advise you of your right to file a lawsuit in Baton Rouge.

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