Introduction of A House Resolution Supporting The Goals and Ideas of National Time Out Day -- (Extensions of Remarks - June 18, 2004)
HON. MARK UDALL
IN THE HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES
FRIDAY, JUNE 18, 2004
Mr. UDALL of Colorado. Mr. Speaker, today I am introducing a House resolution supporting the goals and ideas of the National Time Out Day, which the Association of periOperative Registered Nurses (AORN) and over 50 other health care organizations are celebrating on June 23, 2004 to promote the adoption of a new protocol for preventing medical errors in the operating room.
The number of individuals who are affected by medical errors is astounding. In 2000, the Institute of Medicine released a report entitled "To Err is Human: Building a Safer Health System." The report revealed that between 44,000 and 98,000 hospitalized people in the U.S. die each year due to medical errors, and thousands of others suffer injury or illness as a result of preventable errors.
To address this problem, the Joint Commission on Accreditation of Healthcare Organizations has developed a universal protocol which calls for surgical teams to call a "time out" before surgeries begin in order to verify the patient's identity, the procedure to be performed, and the site of the procedure. The Joint Commission is requiring nurses, surgeons and hospitals throughout the country to adopt this protocol beginning July 1, 2004, in order to curb the alarming number of deaths and injuries due to medical errors.
AORN has created an Internet website and distributed 55,000 tool kits to healthcare professionals to help them implement the universal protocol, and they are celebrating National Time Out Day on June 23 to promote the protocol and its adoption.
National Time Out Day has been endorsed by a distinguished group of healthcare organizations, including the American College of Surgeons, the American Society of Anesthesiologists, the American Hospital Association, and the American Society for Healthcare Risk Management.
Mr. Speaker, ultimately, this issue is about health care access and patient safety. Fewer medical errors will result in better outcomes for patients, fewer medical malpractice suits, which in turn will help keep malpractice insurance rates and health care premiums down.
I think it is important for Congress to recognize and congratulate perioperative nurses and representatives of surgical teams for working together to reduce medical errors and to ensure the improved health and safety of surgical patients-and that is the purpose of this resolution.