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Non-technical skills and their impact on surgical procedures

A group of researchers at the University of Aberdeen have written a new book called Enhancing Surgical Performance: A Primer in Non-Technical Skills. It aims to act as a handbook for surgeons in North Carolina and around the country to help them avoid mistakes and improve their accuracy in the operating room. The book analyzes the importance of a surgeon being able to make decisions, act as a leader and show good situational awareness when making a decision.

It also provides material to help them reflect on their work and analyze any adverse events that take place in the operating room. Researchers believe that as many as 12 percent of patients will experience an adverse event during a hospital stay. Many of them are related to surgery, and examples of adverse events include wrong-site surgery, materials left inside of patients and unnecessary exposure to infection. This is why the book examines how human error and performance limitations may lead to mistakes and adverse events for patients.

The book's editors spent 12 years with the researchers to develop the final text. It was the result of greater interest in bringing research methods into the operating room to adequately analyze the behavior of surgeons, nurses and anesthetists. Such research has been done in the past in the aviation and offshore drilling fields.

A patient who has been injured due to a surgical error may want to seek the advice of an attorney who has experience in medical malpractice litigation. An injured patient may be entitled to compensation for medical bills, lost wages and other damages if it can be demonstrated that the health care practitioner or facility failed to exhibit the requisite standard of care.

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Daniel Pleasant Holoman LLP

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