Doctors and nurses are on "time-out" for patient safety - KWWL - Eastern Iowa Breaking News, Weather, Closings

Doctors and nurses are on "time-out" for patient safety


DUBUQUE (KWWL) -- Wednesday was a nationwide day to talk about something done every day in most hospitals. It's called National Time Out Day. In 2004, the surgical field adopted a "time-out" recommendation to help reduce errors like wrong site surgery and other mistakes.

Before any surgery, before any invasive procedure, before a surgeon can even hold a knife, everyone in the operating room at Finley Hospital in Dubuque has to take a time-out.

"Someone stops just before we begin when all the team is present to do a time-out. We are making sure we have the correct patient, the correct procedure, the correct equipment, any necessary history, and information we need to know before we begin," Finley Hospital Director of Surgical Services Bonnie Herrin said.

Although there's one day dedicated to taking a time-out, it's something that is part of the routine -- as much as scrubbing in and handwashing.

"That's throughout the hospital, surgery, family birthing suites, procedures done on the floor."

The idea of surgeons pausing before operating was modeled after another profession that needs great care, and a company that had a good safety record.

"This was modeled after united airlines, the way they do a check right before you take off in an airplane. They go down the checklist, a last minute check to make sure everything is right," Herrin said.

Just one more way to make sure everyone in the OR is OK.

"Surgery has always worked as a team, but it's that last minute to pull the team together to make sure we're on the same page."

Just this year, Finley Hospital was recognized as number one in Iowa for general surgery in Health Grade Awards. Administrators say patient safety precautions, like time-outs, are part of why the hospital was selected.

Online Reporter:  Jamie Grey

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