Mass. becomes 7th state to pass surgical safety law

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January 29, 2013, 6:13 pm
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(NECN: Kristen Carosa) - There's a new law on the Massachusetts books that will lead to fewer surgical errors and significant cost savings for the health care system.

Massachusetts is the seventh state in the country to pass the law.  

Bruna Lopez is studying to be a surgical technologist. A new law now requires she and her future colleagues to be certified in the state of Massachusetts.

“It will help me be a better surgical technologist,” Lopez says. “I am looking forward to being certified.”

Doctors say the law will lead to fewer surgical errors in the operating room and will save health care costs.

Surgical technologists perform multiple tasks in most surgeries and until now were not required to be certified after graduation.

“Once the students graduate from school, they have one year to become certified. All the hospitals as of July 1st will only be able to hire certified surgical technologists,” says Jayne Macpherson.

Students like Lopez will now go through labs, classroom time and clinicals for their certification.

Chairman of surgery at UMass Memorial Medical Center says above all it will ensure everyone working in the operating room has been properly trained.

Dr. Demetrius Litwin says it has been the missing link for years.

“Operations are complex events and increasingly they require a sophisticated team to carry out those events,” Litwin says. “Operations are definitely not getting simpler.”

Massachusetts is the seventh state to pass the legislation.

State Senator Stephen Brewer says the bill was filed six years ago.

“We can save 4.5 million, have better patient outcomes, better quality of care and the people themselves that work as a surgical technologist want that.”

Lopez says becoming certified will add pride to the work that she will do in the near future.

“It's not just anybody that will be able to be in the operating room, touching people's lives whether they are trained properly to do it or not.”

Tags: certification , surgical errors, UMass Memorial Medical Center, health care system, Kristen carosa, dr. demetrius litwin, surgerical saftery, bruna lopez, jayne macpherson
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