The Checklist Effect screening at University of Manchester

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A special screening of Lifebox’s The Checklist Effect was shown at the University of Manchester Surgical Society later last week, coupled with a Q&A with Dr Emanuel Ayebale.

Lifebox presented a special screening of The Checklist Effect alongside a Q&A with Dr Emanuel Ayebale, one of the anaesthetists filmed on the documentary, to discuss safer surgeries and how one piece of paper can be the difference between life or death.

Lifebox is a non-profit, non-government affiliated organisation dedicated to making surgeries and anaesthesia safer in low-resource countries, and they teamed together with hospital teams across the world to make a short documentary on checklists in surgery.

Dr Emanuel Ayebale, an anaesthetist from Uganda spoke about how important a checklist is, explaining “it’s a very simple tool that has a few boxes to tick before every operation and after every operation and it takes about 45 seconds to do.

“It’s the young people that are dying, there’s lots of surgical diseases that can be easily fixed.”

Statistics show that in Africa 1 in 33 deaths occur from anaesthetic alone and around 100,000 US people die from surgical errors each year. Checklists have been implemented in hospitals across the world, including Dr Ayebale’s, and results have shown that this simple piece of paper makes an improvement in surgeries.

Dr Ayebale said: “I think the statistics speak for themselves; more people are going to die by non-incurable diseases than infectious diseases.

“It’s been very hard to convince, especially surgeons, to run the checklists because in many places it’s not the surgeon who administers the checklist.”

The checklists have simple questions to make sure the correct surgery is taking place on the correct patient and to make sure all of the team have what they need to perform the surgery before they start.

Dr Ayebale carries on: “The checklist actually makes a difference.

“We highly encourage people to modify the checklist, remove what’s not necessary and add in what you think is important.”

In many cases, hospitals have disregarded the checklist as an unnecessary burden or an extra task that isn’t needed with Dr Ayebale stating “some places use it, but many places don’t.”

Checklists are there to prevent surgical errors, so why are hospitals so reluctant to use them?

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