A Speak Up™ Safety Initiative: Help Prevent Errors In Your Care

site marking of outstretched arm with Yes written on it to indicate procedure location

A staff member will mark the correct location on your body on which your procedure is to be performed. Called “site marking,” this is a critical step in ensuring your safety and preventing errors.

Health care workers across the country are working hard to make health care safety a priority. Everyone has a role in making health care safe — physicians, health care executives, nurses, technologists, and you, the patient. You can play a vital role in making your surgery or G.I. (gastrointestinal) procedure safe by becoming an active, involved and informed member of your health care team. Here’s what you can do.

Before you arrive:

  • We want you to know that Bayside Ambulatory Surgery Center is a Joint Commission-accredited organization. All accredited organizations are required to follow the Joint Commission’s Universal Protocol to Prevent Wrong Site, Wrong Procedure and Wrong Person Surgery™. Joint Commission accredited organizations are listed on Quality Check at www.qualitycheck.org.
  • Check with your doctor to see whether there are any prescription or non-prescription medications that you should avoid taking or stop taking temporarily before your surgery or G.I. procedure.
  • Check with your doctor about what you can or can’t eat or drink before your surgery or G.I. procedure.
  • Write down your questions or concerns instead of trying to remember them.
  • Make arrangements for transportation to and from Bayside Ambulatory Center with a responsible family member or friend.
  • Ask a family member or friend to be with you at Bayside Ambulatory Center. This person can serve as your advocate and help to ensure your comfort and safety.
  • Before leaving your home, shower and wash your hair, and remove any nail polish (fingers and toes). Also, do not wear makeup. The skin and nails provide important signs of blood circulation.
  • Please leave any valuables, such as jewelry, at home or with a member of your family. The surgery center is not responsible for lost items.
  • Do not wear perfume or cologne. Other patients and staff may be sensitive or allergic to certain fragrances.

At Bayside Ambulatory Center:

  • You will be asked to sign an informed consent form, which verifies that you and your doctor have discussed the surgery or G.I. procedure that is to be performed on your body, the expectation that you have of each other, and the risks associated with the surgery or G.I. procedure.
  • The staff responsible for your care will verify who you are, what kind of surgery or G.I. procedure you are having, and the expected part of your body on which the procedure is to be performed. You will be asked these questions many times. Staff will also double-check what you tell them against the documents provided by your doctor’s office, including X-rays. Several staff members may ask you the same questions, but this is being done for your safety.
  • Depending on the type of surgery you are having, the doctor who will perform your procedure (or another member of your health care team) will mark the correct location on your body. Called “site marking,” this is a critical step to ensure your safety and prevent errors, especially if you are having surgery on one of your arms, legs, hands, fingers, eyes, ears, etc. For example, if you are having a lesion removed from your right arm, the surgeon will make a mark on your right arm. This is a way to assure that the correct arm will be operated on.
  • Make sure that only the location where your procedure is to be performed is marked. It can be confusing if other sites are marked.
  • If you are having a spinal procedure, the mark will be made on the area of your spine on which your procedure is to be performed. However, this is just a “marker” to indicate the side of your spinal procedure. The exact location can be confirmed by taking and reviewing special X-rays in the operating room after you are asleep.
  • Ask your doctor if he or she plans to take a "time out" with the surgical team just before beginning your surgery. During the time out, the members of the health care team assure themselves that they are performing the correct procedure at the correct site and on the correct person.

In the recovery room:

  • After your surgery, your doctor or nurse will ask about any pain you may have. They will evaluate your pain and provide appropriate relief through medication and other methods.
  • Whenever you are asked to take a medication, especially a new one, ask what it is for and its side effects. This will ensure that you are receiving the correct medication. If you have questions or concerns about any medication, you should raise these with your doctor or nurse.
  • Most patients receive IV (intravenous) fluids during their procedures at Bayside Ambulatory Center. Let your nurse know if the IV site hurts or if you have any other questions about your IV.

Remember to follow-up with your doctor about any therapy or medicines that you may need in your recovery and when you can resume certain activities, like work, exercise or travel.

For more information, talk to your physician or call Bayside Ambulatory Surgery Center at (305) 854-3636.