From the Washington Post:
Surgeons, it seems, are discovering what airline pilots learned decades ago: The human brain can't remember everything, so it's best to focus on the complicated challenges and leave the simple reminders to a cheat sheet.
"You take something as complex as surgery, and you think there isn't a lot that can be done to make it better," said Atul Gawande, a Boston physician who led the study being published in the New England Journal of Medicine. "A checklist seems like a no-brainer, but the size of the benefit is dramatic."
The low-cost, low-tech intervention tested in eight hospitals around the globe could have enormous financial implications, as well. If every operating room in the United States adopted the surgical checklist, the nation could save between $15 billion and $25 billion a year on the costs of treating avoidable complications, according to calculations by the authors.
In the one-year pilot study involving 7,600 patients, the hospitals saw the rate of serious complications fall from 11 percent to 7 percent. Inpatient deaths declined by more than 40 percent overall, with the most drastic reductions occurring in hospitals with fewer resources.
Two questions: 1) If your hospital does not implement the checklist before surgery, can the patient request that they do before operation? 2) Can we request the same for Chief Justice John Roberts? He's a smart guy so I'm almost positive he can have the Presidential Oath memorized in four years. But I don't want to take that chance. One index card. Is that too much to ask?
Download the surgical checklist
32 minutes ago