USQ lecturer undertaking important research in minimising surgery errors

Dr Latif Al-Hakim is undertaking research to help minimise error during surgery
USQ Senior Lecturer Dr Latif Al-Hakim is collaborating with a British university on research that could save lives and drastically reduce the amount of errors made during surgery.

Dr Al-Hakim, in conjunction with the Imperial University of London, is working on the consideration of human errors and patient positioning during surgery in order to minimise errors, the discomfort of the patient and time it takes to complete the surgery.

Dr Al-Hakim said he spent a lot of time conducting research in Toowoomba and Brisbane hospitals and was surprised about the lack of preparation and forward thinking he found during many surgery cases.

‘In about 30 to 40 per cent of surgeries, the patient has felt extra discomfort from preventable errors,’ Dr Al-Hakim said.

‘Sometimes it’s the simplest things that can lead to errors, such as the operating table not being at the right height or forgetting to bring necessary equipment.’

Dr Al-Hakim said the research was currently looking at the lateral (lying on side) and lithotomic (on back with legs in stirrups) positions for surgery, which require complex procedures.

‘My research has found that by identifying human errors during pre-planning, surgery time can be cut by up to 25 percent.’

Dr Al-Hakim’s has been invited to present his research at the first Lanzhou International Summit Forum on Minimally Invasive Surgery in China later in the month.

Bangkok Hospital and 27 smaller hospitals in the region are currently utilising Dr Al-Hakim and the Imperial University’s research and Dr Al-Hakim said the results had been very positive so far.

‘We’ve picked up on many errors surgeons and medical staff make that seem obvious but most don’t even notice,’ Dr Al-Hakim said.

‘Such errors occur in hospitals around the world and our research could help minimise potential risks, even save lives.

Dr Al-Hakim acts as the Senior Lecturer in Operations Management at USQ’s Toowoomba campus.

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