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It’s National “Time Out” in the O.R. Day: Safety during Plastic Surgery

It's National Time Out Day"!

It’s National Time Out Day”!

Wednesday, June 11th 2014 is National Time Out Day!  Who knew?  I just found out today!  See the photo I took of the recovery room computer screen at the Davies campus of CPMC, where I bring my patients for surgery.

I don’t normally operate on Wednesdays, instead I usually see patients in the office today.  However, today we specially scheduled surgery on a young woman with inflammatory, triple-negative breast cancer who needed bilateral mastectomies and immediate DIEP flap breast reconstruction.  Our patients come first, and we are happy to rearrange our schedule to accommodate our patients’ wants or needs for both cosmetic and reconstructive cases.

Likewise, SAFETY is key in planning surgery for our patients.  I only operate at fully accredited hospital operating rooms, with Board-Certified Anesthesiologists and a full O.R. team who is trained to do all types of cases, big and small, and who usually work with me the three days a week I am performing surgery.

What is a “TIME OUT”?  “Time out” is a pause in the operating room by the entire surgical team:  the Surgeon(s), Anesthesiologist, circulating O.R. Nurse and Scrub Technician.  Time out involves reviewing the patient name, the surgeons involved, what procedure(s) are going to be done, which side(s) of the body, antibiotics and drugs to be administered, implants to be inserted, photographs of the patient taken preoperatively, whether they are staying overnight or going home, and other pertinent details of surgery.

A cute cookie provided to the O.R. staff for National Time Out Day

A cute cookie provided to the O.R. staff for National Time Out Day

Safety is imperative for my patients and is my primary concern during surgery.  The hospitals where I operate initiated a formal “Time Out” process a few years ago – which is something I always did with my operating room team on my own anyway before beginning surgery!  I always review the plan with my patient before we go back into the operating room and make sure the team in the room knows the plan, the steps and order of surgery and any other important or unusual details.

I appreciate that “Time Out” is now standard of care across the country and that there is a national day to recognize the importance of ensuring the best quality care and patient safety, above all else!

I also encourage my patients to review our Preparing for Surgery section of my website, which reviews what to expect during surgery and how to best prepare for the surgical experience.  The Postoperative Instructions section also is vital for new patients to review, or established patients to re-read prior to every surgical procedure they are contemplating.

So, rest assured that your surgical team is fully aware of what will be happening during your Plastic Surgical procedure.  Safety is the Number One priority.  Although today is the national day, we perform a “Time Out” every single day, for every single patient!

To learn more about my San Francisco Plastic Surgery practice and to schedule a consultation for Plastic Surgery or non-surgical cosmetic rejuvenation at Horton SPA, call 415-923-3067 or complete our online form today!

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Dr. Karen M. Horton, M.D. - Plastic Surgery, Physicians & Surgeons - Medical-M.D., San Francisco, CA