I’ve written quite a bit lately about complications with the da Vinci Surgical System. Let’s be honest, I’ve had a lot of material to work with. This time though, it might be a bit of good news that could be another important step towards the promise of what these robots could someday do.
A small liferaft for Da Vinci?
A new report suggests that a number of serious and potentially life-threatening complications from robotic surgery may be avoidable with the use of a safety checklist, before and during an operation. Sounds simple, but true.
A study published this week in Patient Safety in Surgery, researchers from the Washington University in St. Louis School of Medicine found a decrease in problems stemming from robotic surgery when checklists were used during lengthy procedures, a time of “time out” before and during the surgery.
Including things such as checking pressure points to prevent nerve damage, checking for corneal abrasions, and checking patient positioning, doctors have found a decrease in the number of complications with the robotic surgery.
Now we know that checklists help doctors. This is not exactly breaking new ground. The Checklist Manifesto, a great book, showed us the stunning studies that show just how often patients are better served when doctors override their judgment in favor of an old school checklist. But it appears that with da Vinci surgeries, the need for a checklist is particularly acute.