Delays are almost always inconvenient and unappreciated. Whether you're waiting an hour to see a doctor, waiting on co-workers to complete their portion of a project, waiting for an important letter that seemed to "get lost" in the mail, or waiting too long for a medical diagnoses, delays are inconvenient and perhaps one of the worst places to encounter a delay is during surgery.
According to the U.S. National Library of Medicine National Institutes of Health, "delays in the operating room have a negative effect on its efficiency and the working environment." On the topic of delays, the agency went on to conduct a study and upon its completion, analyzed data from May of 2000 to February of 2009.
The organization decided to analyze the causes, impact, and frequency of system delays in one particular neurosurgeon's practice. Of 1,531 elective surgeries performed in the study, it was concluded that:
- The most common error had to do with delays, which accounted for 33.6% of the errors
- 51.4% of the surgeries involved at least one delay
- In 88.5% of the cases, at least one error occurred
- The major cause of delays was equipment failure
After the study was over, researchers concluded that delays occur in the operating room frequently, and they do have a major effect on the utilization of resources and patient flow. What causes the delays in the OR?
The study says that much of the delays are attributed to none other than humane error, but they can also be linked to system deficiencies and the average operating room is plagued with both. Delays in the operating room are a common problem, which affects surgeons, nurses, and more importantly, patients.
Although not every delay or equipment malfunction adversely affects a patient's health, they can certainly increase anxiety for the patient's family as it anxiously awaits in the waiting room.
Still, we cannot ignore the fact that equipment malfunctions are a major source of frustration for surgeons and OR nurses, and when the circumstances are right, a malfunction during surgery can mean death to the patient.
If you have been injured in the operating room due to an equipment malfunction or another medical error, you are urged to contact a personal injury attorney to discuss filing a medical malpractice claim.