Half of all surgical complications are preventable

A few years ago the World Health Organization published some statistice that stated that at least one half of all surgical complications were preventable. And that figure included both developed and developing nations.

Even more alarming perhaps is the fact that the solution for a lot of these complications is actually very simple and requires none of the latest specialized high-tech medical equipment, but rather requires just getting back to some of the basics. If all the members of a surgical team carefully follow a safe surgery checklist or protocol which help them not to forget any important steps many of the preventable surgical complications can be avoided.

Here are five curious facts about surgery:

1. The general mortality rate after major surgery is reported as between 0.5% and 5%;

2. Complications after inpatient operations occur in up to 25% of patients;

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 preventable;

5. The generally accepted protocols for preventing surgical complications are not always followed even in the some of the most advanced surgical facilities.

To help greatly reduce the mortality rate of surgery in developing nations a group of specialists from the hospital ship Africa Mercy are teaching local surgical teams in Madagascar how to implement these simple, yet highly effective protocols/checklists to make surgery much safer even in places where only basic medical equipment is available.

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