Things like bringing in a second surgeon, having a conference before a surgery, and other simple measures can be taken to try to prevent those kinds of errors. “Those things actually serve the purpose of trying to reduce the possibility of bias in a decision, but we haven’t understood it using that language,” Dr. Arjmand said.
Explore This IssueNovember 2014
Farrel Buchinsky, MD, a pediatric otolaryngologist at Allegheny General Hospital in Pittsburgh, said he likes the collegial approach to preventing errors. “I’ve read many books on these topics, and they’re all about you and what you can do for yourself, but what I found most useful was how you can build it into your team approach and how you can rely on your colleagues,” he said. Talking to colleagues about errors, without notes, as they do at Dr. Shapiro’s center, helps physicians overcome their reluctance to let down their guard, he said.
Additionally, he thought panelists were wise to underscore the importance of bringing a second physician into the operating room. “You think you’re bringing him in because you need a second pair of hands,” he said. “You need a second brain, and more importantly than a second brain, a brain that hasn’t gone through what you’ve just been going through for the past half hour or an hour.”