Quality and Patient Safety  > Patient Safety Tips  > Surgery 

Surgery

 If surgery is needed:

  • Make sure that you, your doctor, and your surgeon all agree on what will be done. Having surgery on the wrong site is rare, but it is preventable. 
  • Understand your course of treatment:
    – Who will be in charge of your care while you are in the hospital?
    – How long will you need to be in the hospital?
    – How long will it take to recuperate?
  • Ask your surgeon how many surgeries he has performed and what his results are. You may also want to ask how he was trained to perform the procedure and if he is board-certified in his specialty.
  • Tell the surgeon if you have allergies or if you have ever had any unusual reaction to anesthesia.

Following your surgery:

  • Take care to wash your hands thoroughly, especially after handling any type of soiled material and after using the restroom.
  • Tell friends and relatives not to visit if they feel ill.
  • Don't be timid — remind doctors, nurses, and therapists to wash their hands before they work with you.
  • If you have an intravenous line ("IV"), keep the area around it clean and dry. Let your nurse know if the dressing comes loose or gets moist.
  • As well, if you have a surgical dressing, let your nurse know if it comes loose or is wet.
  • If you have any type of drainage tubes, such as a urinary catheter, tell your nurse immediately if it becomes disconnected or loose. Loose or disconnected tubes can become an entry point for infectious germs.
  • Follow instructions in regard to breathing treatments or getting out of bed. These activities are of great importance to your recovery and prevention of lung infections and other complications. Don't be afraid to ask for help if you need it. Also, you have the right to adequate pain control. If your pain is effectively controlled, you will be better able to follow your treatment plan.