A new study by the Harvard School of Public Health shows that using a short checklist during major surgeries dramatically reduces deaths and complications.
WBUR's Sacha Pfeiffer reports.
The simple checklist requires doctors to pause during surgery and ask a few basic questions, such as: Are we about to operate on the correct body part? Sounds obvious, but Harvard researcher Alex Haynes says checking eliminates more than a third of deaths and complications.
Haynes: It is reflective of a change in the culture of the operating room. It requires an emphasis on team-based care, and the operating room traditionally has been very surgeon-led — the surgeon is the captain of ship.
But Haynes says with a checklist, other team members are more likely to speak up if they see something going wrong.
This program aired on January 15, 2009. The audio for this program is not available.