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New surgical guidelines save lives, boost confidence in hospitals

Zawya.com | 2009-01-19

AMMAN - Major complications from surgery at Prince Hamzah Hospital fell by almost 40 per cent, while inpatient deaths following surgical operations were cut nearly in half thanks to guidelines designed to make operations safer.

Under the Safe Surgery Saves Lives Initiative, the Kingdom was designated for a trial run of a WHO surgical safety checklist designed to be applied in both the developed and developing worlds to assist surgical teams, providing a set of core measures to improve surgical safety procedures.

Hospitals in eight cities around the globe successfully demonstrated that the use of a simple surgical checklist during major operations can lower the incidence of surgery-related deaths and complications by one third, according to a WHO statement.

The studies were undertaken in eight hospitals, in both high and lower income settings, in each of the six WHO regions - in Ifakara (Tanzania), Manila (Philippines), New Delhi (India), Amman (Jordan), Seattle (US), Toronto (Canada), London (UK) and Auckland (New Zealand). The reduction in complications proved to be of equal magnitude in high and lower income sites in the study.

"The concept of using a brief but comprehensive checklist is surprisingly new to us in surgery. Not everyone on the operating teams were happy to try it. But the results were unprecedented. And the teams became strong supporters," the statement quoted Dr. Atul Gawande, main author of the study and team leader for the development of the WHO surgical safety checklist, as saying.

Starting in late 2007, the checklist was implemented in Prince Hamzah Hospital which was chosen among hospitals in eight cities around the globe to take part in the pioneering initiative.

Following the checklist's implementation, inpatient deaths following major operations at the hospital fell from 1.35 to 0.69 per cent, while the crisis rate of operations dropped from 0.09 per cent to 0.017 per cent, according to surgeon Abdul Hadi Breizat, who is supervising the project in Jordan.

In addition, major complications from surgery went down to 3.6 per cent from 6 per cent prior to the checklist's implementation, Breizat told The Jordan Times yesterday.

"Following the success of the programme, the Health Ministry is keen on spreading the experience to other hospitals in the Kingdom to further enhance the quality of patients' lives," he added.

According to Breizat, who is also president of the Jordanian Surgical Society, as of early February, the checklist will be implemented in Al Bashir Hospital and Al Hussein Hospital in Salt.

By the end of the year, a total of 26 Health MinistryHealth MinistryLoading...- affiliated hospitals that carry out major surgeries will implement the checklist, he said, adding that discussions will be held with private, as well as military and university hospitals to adopt the guidelines.

Breizat, who currently serves as director of Al Bashir Hospital, underlined the importance of the checklist.

"It saves money for the government and ensures a better quality of life for patients. It also improves the Kingdom's healthcare system and thus boosts confidence in Jordan's medical tourism industry."

10 essential objectives for 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 anaesthetic administration, while protecting the patient from pain.

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