One Doctor's 'Awkward' Decision Changes Safety In Medicine

By: Guest Author | Posted on: Dec 14, 2017

This article was originally published on ampproject.org by Kate Darvall View the original article by clicking here.

This is how one doctor's slightly 'awkward' decision to scrawl his name and profession across his forehead, changed safety in medicine across the world. 

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Dr Rob Hackett, a Sydney based anaesthetist, decided to write his name and profession on his scrub cap to avoid mix-ups in the operating theatre. 

'There were some side remarks, like "can't you remember your name?"' Dr Hackett said.

Six months since he first emblazoned his name and profession on his forehead, Dr Hackett revealed the idea had been embraced by surgical staff internationally. 

He said the idea, however small, reduced the chance of delays and miss-identification between colleagues wearing surgical scrubs in the operating room.

Dr Hackett said surgical staff often had their faces almost entirely obscured by scrubs and face masks. 

He said the name tags prevented embarrassing situations.

'When you work across four or five hospitals and with hundreds of people, I'd say 75 per cent of staff I walk past I don't know their name. It's quite awkward,' Dr Hackett told the Sydney Morning Herald

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'Last Friday I went to a cardiac arrest in a theatre where there were about 20 people in the room. I struggled to even ask to be passed some gloves because the person I was pointing to thought I was pointing to the person behind them.'

Most importantly, Dr Hackett said the name tags helped clinicians out in often-critical moments. 

The anaesthetist said precious time was often lost when clinicians couldn't remember the names of other people in the operating room.

He also recalled incidents where medical students were mistaken for qualified surgeons, and asked to do something they weren't qualified to do. 


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