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Patient safety often compromised during transfer of care

On Behalf of | Sep 17, 2015 | Medical Malpractice |


When you are in the hospital for a procedure, you may think the greatest challenge to your well-being is your illness or injury. A study by the American Association of Nurse Anesthetists, however, states that a transfer of care, otherwise known as a patient handoff, can pose a considerable threat to your health and safety. In hospitals in Georgia and elsewhere, your anesthesiologist may at some point be required to turn over the responsibility of your care to another doctor. At Garland Samuel & Loeb PC, we know that good communication and standardized protocols can be critical in this moment to ensure that you do not suffer the consequences of an anesthesia error or other mistake due to a poorly executed handoff.

Catastrophic errors can occur when an incoming medical professional, such as an anesthesiologist, is not aware or is not made aware of your current needs and circumstances by the outgoing doctor. Some specifics that are critical to your safety during the transition from one caregiver to the next include:

  •        Your identity and medical history
  •        Known allergies
  •        Information about ventilation and IV access
  •        Specifics of procedure
  •        Operating room and surgical conditions

Your are more likely to benefit from a smooth and error-free transfer when your medical team uses a standardized transfer checklist to make sure all important factors are covered. The AANA study stressed the importance keen observation by the incoming physician, combined with thorough communication about your condition by the outgoing doctor. For more information about hospital mistakes, please visit our page.




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