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Can the Theatre Cap Challenge Solve Patient Safety?
MD Magazine

Rob Hackett has a story he loves to tell: There’s this gynecologist performing a routine minimally invasive surgery, when he inadvertently cuts a hole in his patient’s bowel. Needing help in correcting the mistake, the gynecologist calls for a colorectal surgeon to join him in the operating room.

A young man nearby hustles to sterilize and swings through the OR doors. For the next 10 minutes, the pair works together to locate the hole. Once they’ve found it, the gynecologist turns to his colleague and asks him to map out next steps for repairing it. That’s when the gynecologist discovers that he’s made another huge mistake: He wasn’t working with a colorectal surgeon, but with a medical student who had no experience in such a procedure.

Besides this anecdotal story, Hackett—an anesthetist based in Sydney, Australia—has so many reasons to rally against medical error that he’s uncertain of where to begin. In an interview with MD Magazine, he rattled off a series of influential events in his 25 years as a health care provider that stoked his passion and motivated him to try to make a change: the loss of a friend to improper care, a colleague driven to suicide by the high expectations of her profession, the brushback he’s received from superiors in response to his plans for change, and sympathy from other health care influencers who share his ideals.