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Delayed emergency surgeries are risking patients’ death around the world

There is a lack of universally standardised time frame a patient with urgent needs should ideally get into surgery.

health Updated: Jul 10, 2017 15:55 IST
Asian News International, Washington DC
Medical emergencies,Surgeries,Patients
The study concluded that timely access to the operating room is important from both the patient. (Shutterstock )

Patients whose emergency surgery is delayed due to a lack of operating room resources are at a higher risk of dying. The study was conducted at The Ottawa Hospital, one of Canada’s largest hospitals, and the sole provider in the region for trauma, neurosurgery, thoracic and vascular surgery.

“Delays in emergency surgeries are a problem around the world,” said senior author Dr. Alan Forster, vice president of quality, performance and population health, and senior scientist at The Ottawa Hospital, and professor at the University of Ottawa in Ontario.

“This study adds to the evidence suggesting timely access to the [operating room] is important from both the patient and care provider perspectives. Given that there are no universal standards for the time frame a patient with urgent needs should get into surgery, we set an aggressive scale for the different grades of urgency.”

Researchers identified 15,160 emergency surgery patients and found that almost 19% (2820) did not reach the operating room within that time frame. In 86% of those cases with documented reasons for delay, system issues such as staff or operating room availability were the cause.

The study found that an alarming number of critical patients did not even reach the operating room within the emergency time frame. ( HT file photo )

Surgical delays resulted in a higher risk of death, longer lengths of stay for patients and higher health care costs. “We found that most delays were due to system issues, like physician, nurse and operating room unavailability,” said Dr. Daniel McIsaac, an associate scientist at The Ottawa Hospital and assistant professor at the University of Ottawa.

These findings are consistent with evidence from other countries that delays are often due to system factors.

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First Published: Jul 10, 2017 15:50 IST