We have all heard stories about hospitals mistakenly amputating the wrong leg or removing the wrong kidney. Although these events are extremely rare (roughly one in every 1.5 million surgeries), safety experts have developed a protocol designed to eliminate them entirely. It is called the Universal Protocol, and it verifies and confirms the patient and procedure. We use the universal protocol for all surgeries, as well as invasive and radiological procedures.
What we do to prevent wrong-site surgeries
We ask you to frequently state your name and date of birth.
We ask you to frequently state the intended procedure and site of your procedure.
Our attending surgeons ask you to assist in marking your body with the location of the procedure. (The surgeon will initial the site.)
For some procedures, such as spine surgeries, it is not always possible for you to participate. In these cases, special diagnostic equipment is used to identify the location of the procedure.
Immediately before each surgery, we conduct a "time out" during which the health care team reviews the procedure to be conducted and checks it against the documentation.
What you can do to prevent wrong-site surgeries
State your name and date of birth when asked
If a member of your health care team asks you to repeat your name and date of birth, remember that this request is part of our rigorous safety program. Your cooperation helps us ensure your safety.
State the name of your procedure when asked
Understand that the reason why you are frequently asked to state your intended procedure and surgical site is to protect you.
Check your consent form
When you sign the informed consent, be sure that it correctly states the name of the procedure that you understand will be performed.
The Centers of Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) recommend that patients speak up if they have questions about whether a procedure is appropriate. Please do let us know if you disagree with a health care provider about anything.