With major surgery now occurring at a rate of 234 million procedures per year – one for every 25 people – and studies indicating that a significant percentage result in preventable complications and deaths, the World Health Organization (WHO) launched a new safety checklist for surgical teams to use in operating theatres, as part of a major drive to make surgery safer around the world
"Preventable surgical injuries and deaths are now a growing concern," said Dr Margaret Chan, Director-General of WHO. "Using the Checklist is the best way to reduce surgical errors and improve patient safety."
Several studies have shown that in industrial countries major complications are reported to occur in 3-16% of inpatient surgical procedures, with permanent disability or death rates of approximately 0.4-0.8%. In developing countries studies suggest a death rates of 5-10 % during major surgery. Mortality from general anaesthesia alone is reported to be as high as one in 150 in parts of sub-Saharan Africa. Infections and other postoperative complications are also a serious concern around the world. These studies suggest that approximately half of these complications may be preventable.
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