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WHO Creates New Surgical Tool to Make Operations Safer Everywhere
Date:6/24/2008

GENEVA and WASHINGTON DC, June 25 /PRNewswire/ -- With major surgery now occurring at a rate of 234 million procedures per year - one for every 25 people - and studies indicating that a significant percentage result in preventable complications and deaths, the World Health Organization (WHO) launched a new safety checklist for surgical teams to use in operating theatres, as part of a major drive to make surgery safer around the world.

To view the Multimedia News Release, please click: http://www.prnewswire.com/mnr/ogilvyhealthpr/33718/

"Preventable surgical injuries and deaths are now a growing concern," said Dr Margaret Chan, Director-General of WHO. "Using the Checklist is the best way to reduce surgical errors and improve patient safety."

Several studies have shown that in industrial countries major complications are reported to occur in 3-16% of inpatient surgical procedures, with permanent disability or death rates of approximately 0.4-0.8%. In developing countries studies suggest a death rates of 5-10 % during major surgery. Mortality from general anaesthesia alone is reported to be as high as one in 150 in parts of sub-Saharan Africa. Infections and other postoperative complications are also a serious concern around the world. These studies suggest that approximately half of these complications may be preventable.

"Surgical care has been an essential component of health systems worldwide for more than a century.' said Dr Atul Gawande, a surgeon and professor at Harvard. "Although there have been major improvements over the last few decades, the quality and safety of surgical care has been dismayingly variable in every part of the world. The Safe Surgery Saves Lives initiative aims to change this by raising the standards that patients anywhere can expect."

The Safe Surgery Saves Lives initiative is a collaborative effort lead by the Harvard
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SOURCE World Health Organization (WHO)
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