WHO launches guide to safer surgery

BMJ 2008; 337 doi: (Published 01 July 2008) Cite this as: BMJ 2008;337:a623
  1. Bob Roehr
  1. 1Washington, DC

    A simple checklist in operating rooms worldwide is expected to prevent millions of injuries associated with surgery and save untold numbers of lives, according to the Safe Surgery Saves Lives campaign launched by the World Health Organization, in Washington, DC, on 25 June.

    Major surgery is a growing component of health care, with an estimated 234 million procedures a year, or one for every 25 people. “Few of us who live a long life will do so without surgery,” said Atul Gawande, the Harvard Medical School surgeon who organised the campaign.

    A review of the literature found a bell curve of best to worst results in every country, with rates of complications varying from 3% to 16% and mortality rates from …

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