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Can #TheatreCapChallenge save lives in the U.S.?

When you undergo a procedure in a Washington hospital, you may not be able to tell which person in the room is your surgeon, which is an aide or nurse, and which person will be taking care of anesthesia. The scrubs, caps and masks hide everything but the eyes of these relatively unfamiliar people. Perhaps alarmingly, the team performing the procedure might not know who is who, either.

According to Unilad, this problem has been noted in the medical community as a probable cause of errors and adverse events in the operating room. One anesthesiologist in Australia recognized the dangers of being unable to communicate effectively with other team members in life-or-death situations. To combat the issue, he wrote his name and position on his cap.

While it may be reassuring to you as a patient to be able to know who is speaking to you and who will be doing what while you are unconscious, other medical professionals were skeptical about the practical benefits at first. However, after just six months, thousands of medical professionals around the world have adopted the practice, and they acknowledge that being able to address the right person quickly under pressure eliminates dangerous delay during procedures.

The hashtag #TheatreCapChallenge has been created by a midwife in the U.K. to spread the word about the success of the simple solution. Because medical errors continue to be one of the leading causes of fatalities in the world, every step toward safety may save lives.

This information is provided for educational purposes only, and should not be interpreted as legal or medical advice.