Avoiding Common Surgical Errors

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This pocket book lists 186 errors commonly made by attendings, residents, interns, nurse practitioners, and physician assistants when working with surgical patients on the ward or in the operating room, emergency room, or intensive care unit. The book can easily be read immediately before the start of a rotation or used for quick reference on call.

Each entry includes an explanation of the clinical scenario in which the error can occur and the relevant anatomy and pathophysiology. Illustrations of pertinent anatomy, instruments, and devices are included.

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Editorial Reviews

Doody's Review Service
Reviewer: Bruce E Jarrell, MD (University of Maryland School of Medicine)
Description: This book addresses common surgical errors and methods to avoid making them.
Purpose: The purpose is to provide a clear exposition of the most commonly encountered surgical errors and complications and a description of how to avoid and/or treat the complication.
Audience: Anyone practicing or training for general or specialty surgery would be an appropriate audience.
Features: The book covers 186 different topics in its 496 pages. It is broken down into broad categories of errors associated with the emergency department, the operating room, and intensive care unit. It includes details on devices such as surgical lines, drains, and wounds and medical problems such as bleeding and thrombosis. It also discusses complications related to surgery of the GI tract and complications that occur in the in-patient setting. It is written by numerous authors, all of whom have clinically relevant expertise and who are actively practicing physicians. Each topic typically has a section that identifies the problem or error and then a discussion of its management. At the end of each topic, there are references and suggested readings. Scattered throughout are occasional tables and diagrams to help understand the problem.
Assessment: I read this from cover to cover because I found it to be very engaging. The choice of topics is carefully thought out and representative of common problems encountered in the usual practice of surgery or anesthesia. As I read the book, I felt that it represented a conversation between several practitioners and other care providers who were attempting to decrease errors and improve the outcomes of their patients. Many of the topics were memorable to me as complications discussed in prior morbidity and mortality conferences. Where appropriate, evidence-based medicine was brought into the discussion, but many of the topics are described using the art of surgery rather than evidence-based medicine. Other chapters address unusual problems and poorly known facts that are included because of their catastrophic consequences. Discussing both types of problems contribute significantly to the educational value. This book would be excellent for students rotating on surgery as well as for surgical and emergency medicine residents. Reading it was like having a more experienced physician talk about how to deal with various dangerous situations. I enjoyed this book a lot.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780781747424
  • Publisher: Lippincott Williams & Wilkins
  • Publication date: 10/28/2005
  • Pages: 528
  • Product dimensions: 5.10 (w) x 8.28 (h) x 0.92 (d)

Table of Contents

  1. Tube, Drain, Line, and Catheter Snafus
  2. Emergency Room Snafus
  3. Operating Room Snafus
  4. Ward Snafus
  5. Laboratory Snafus
  6. Medication Snafus
  7. Surgical Subspecialty Snafus
  8. Miscellaneous Snafus
  9. Have a high index of suspicion for incarcerated or strangulated hernia if a patient has a bowel obstruction and no previous abdominal surgery
  10. Consider aortic injury or thoracic great vessel injury if a patient has fractures of the first or second ribs
  11. Evaluate the patient for mediastinal or heart injuries if a sternal fracture is present
  12. Admit a knee dislocation for observation if an arteriogram is not performed to rule out popliteal artery injury
  13. Have a high index of suspicion for nerve injures in humeral fractures and dislocations
  14. Look for a rupturing or dissecting aneurysm with any patient who complains of flank pain
  15. Make the opening sufficiently wide to adequately drain and pack the cavity when performing an incision and drainage of an abscess
  16. Promptly dispose of your own sharps after doing a bedside or emergency room procedure
  17. Close the galea as a separate layer when repairing a full thickness laceration to the scalp.
  18. Treat crepitus on physical exam as a surgical emergency that requires definitive debridement in the operating room
  19. Do not shave the eyebrow when repairing a laceration to this area
  20. Do not rule out intraabdominal trauma by clinical exam if the patient is intoxicated or has altered sensorium
  21. Do not allow a "negative CT" to prevent you from taking a case of suspected appendicitis to the operating room if the diagnosis is supported clinically
  22. Do not remove a knife that is penetrating tissue unless you have a direct intraoperative vision and control
  23. Avoid undue traction on the left renal vein to expose the neck of an aortic aneurysm
  24. Do not hesitate to convert a laparoscopic cholecystectomy to an open cholecystectomy
  25. Use the left side when harvesting a full-thickness skin graft from the groin area or lower abdomen
  26. Remember when reviewing Doppler ultrasound results that the superficial femoral vein is a component of the "deep" venous system
  27. Consider gastric dilatation when a patient is having respiratory difficulty
  28. Do not debride a dry/black eschar overlying a decubitus ulcer in a bedridden patient that has no evidence of underlying cellulitis
  29. Consider an addisonian state if it "looks like sepsis and smells like sepsis" but you can not identify a causative microbe.
  30. Go above the rib when placing a chest tube or needle into the chest cavity
  31. Prescribe Lactobacillus (or other probiotic therapy) when a patient receives any dose of antibiotics
  32. Make sure the heparin is removed from the intravenous flushes if a patient is diagnosed with heparin-induced thrombocytopenia
  33. Obtain a pregnancy test on every female between the ages of ten and fifty years.
  34. Do not call the anesthesiologists or nurse anesthetists “anesthesia” or “Dr. Anesthesia”
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Sort by: Showing 1 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted October 10, 2005

    Great book!!

    I am glad that I got ahold of this book. It has already saved me from doing several really bad things to patients. Should be good for all surgical housestaff and PA's

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
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