BMJ 2005; 331 doi: https://doi.org/10.1136/bmj.331.7514.464 (Published 18 August 2005) Cite this as: BMJ 2005;331:464

Writing on a patient's skin with a marker pen and attaching signed checklists to the patient's notes are one way to tackle the problem of wrong-site surgery. Another, described in the latest issue of UK Casebook (2005;13: 17) is the “safety band.” This looks like a standard hospital identity bracelet, but it also has the correct procedure written on it and room for three sets of initials—the patient's, the admitting doctor's, and the surgeon's—which are added when the patient is in the anaesthetic room, still conscious.

A snippet from a primary care trust's newsletter states: “MRI scanners (for large patients). This is to inform all GPs that the Veterinary Department at the Zoological Society of London do not have CT or MRI scanners for scanning oversized patients. GPs are advised to contact the Equine/Large Animal Units at either Cambridge University Veterinary School or the Animal Health Trust in Newmarket.” Minerva would be interested to know what the cut-off point is for size.

Two herbal remedies used to treat irritable bowel syndrome do not stand the scrutiny of a randomised controlled trial. Curcuma xanthorriza and Fumaria officinalis are commonly used by patients looking for alternative medicine. Curcuma comes from the same family …

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