Archive for February, 2010

NTI Board Members in Haiti, Providing Relief

Tuesday, February 23rd, 2010

Dr. Peggy Knudson, vice chair of the American College of Surgeons’ Committee on Trauma (ASC COT) and an NTI board member, is in Haiti providing surgical care for victims of the January earthquake that devastated the island nation. The ACS COT has an informative website tracking what the organization and some of its members have been doing in the aftermath of the disaster. Visit the site at: http://www.facs.org/trauma/updatehaiti.html for the latest update.

Another NTI board member, Dr. Andrew Pollack, of the University of Maryland Shock Trauma Team, describes his institution’s Haiti mission here: http://www.facs.org/trauma/updatehaiti-pollack.html.

Hospital-Acquired Infections Make Late-Night TV

Thursday, February 4th, 2010

Last night on Comedy Central’s The Daily Show, Jon Stewart’s guest was Atul Gawande, a surgeon and author of “The Checklist Manifesto.” Gawande insists that the simple provision of a checklist for doctors prior to conducting surgery saves lives. He points to evidence that in one hospital, alone, that has instituted the checklist, 1,500 lives were saved in a year.

Gawande arrived at his surgical checklist after reviewing similar checklists used by pilots and astronauts. While highly trained doctors may bristle at the idea that they need to go through a rudimentary checklist before performing surgery, Gawande says that once they see how well it finds mistakes and prevents the spread of infections, they are likely to find it worthwhile.

Let’s hope that the exposure of the idea on this influential comedy show results in more hospitals taking it seriously! Stewart has a way of bringing important issues to the forefront, in spite of, or perhaps because of, his humorous treatment of them. Gawande says that the checklist is in effect in only 20% of hospitals nationwide–but of the doctors surveyed after using the checklist, 93% said they would want it to be used if they were undergoing surgery.