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The Boston Globe

Health & wellness

Checklists in the OR can help caregivers avert crises, study finds

Crises in the operating room are common, but caregivers often fail to save the patient because they do not recall the necessary steps quickly enough. An experiment at Brigham and Women’s Hospital suggests that surgeons, nurses, and other staff members can vastly improve their handling of these critical situations by reviewing checklists, an approach used by pilots during airplane mishaps.

When checklists were available to surgical teams, they missed just 6 percent of life­saving steps, compared with 23 percent when the tool was not available, according to results published online Wednesday in the New England Journal of Medicine.

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