Letter: Wrong-site procedures avoidable

On June 11, National Time Out Day will be practiced in hospitals and ambulatory surgery centers in Louisiana and around the country. Taking a “time out” to confirm correct patient, correct procedure, correct surgical site and other important information before every operative and other invasive procedure is a requirement of The Joint Commission Universal Protocol. Despite the requirement, 40-60 wrong-site surgeries likely occur in the U.S. each week. Time Out Day was created by the Association of periOperative Registered Nurses in 2004 to raise awareness about the importance of requiring the entire surgical team to pause before all invasive procedures to communicate as a group and confirm key information about the patient and procedure to help prevent errors from occurring.

Wrong patient, wrong site, wrong procedures are sentinel events — described by The Joint Commission as “an unexpected occurrence involving death or serious physical or psychological injury, or the risk thereof.”

To perioperative nurses, they are tragedies. That is why as a perioperative nurse and AORN member, I commemorate National Time Out Day with this public commitment to my patients, their loved ones and the entire surgical community that I will always take time out for every patient, every time. Special thanks to Sen. Mary Landrieu for collaborating with AORN and authoring the initial Senate resolution that resulted in the official National Time Out Day.

Nathalie Walker

registered nurse

Metairie