Stories

Doctor Saves Lives Simply by Writing His Name on His Scrub Cap

    During medical procedures and life-saving surgeries, there is no doubt that every second counts. The emergency room can make for a chaotic scene where the pressure is on and there is zero room for error.

    Unfortunately sometimes avoidable mistakes do happen, especially during some of the more time-sensitive procedures. Throughout his career, Sydney-based anesthetist Dr. Rob Hackett has seen these mistakes happen and has come up with a very simple solution.

    The Solution

    Dr. Hackett realized that one major cause for error during surgery was due to the fact that not everyone in the operating room was well acquainted with one another. This could cause numerous issues. For one, he often times saw medical students mistaken for surgeons and therefore requested to do something they weren’t yet qualified for. He also noticed that seconds have been lost due to an individual not knowing the name of another and struggling to get their attention.

    Hackett came up with a simple solution to this common problem. He decided to write his name and profession on his scrub cap. This way while he is in surgery, everyone in the room would be able to identify him and understand his role. With his name on his cap, this left very little room for miss-identification between colleagues.

    Other than reducing the chance of delay and miss-identification between colleagues, doctors writing their names on caps also offers a friendly reminder to patients that doctors are human too. After other doctors began to take Hackett’s idea, the medical professionals started adding their unique personality to their caps.

    They hope this will help humanize the staff and make the entire process less scary for the patient. The overall goal is to create the most comfortable and safest environment for patient care. Who knew the use of a simple sharpie could make such a difference?

    An Online Campaign

    Dr. Hackett’s idea became so widespread and necessary to patient safety in his own practice that he started an online campaign in order to advocate its use in other hospitals in Sydney and beyond. The campaign fell under the hashtag #TheatreCapChallenge. A year after the trend began, the idea is now being applied in hospitals all over the world. Doctors across the board are recognizing the importance of making every second count and avoiding any possible delay during life-threatening procedures.

    In passing on the challenge, Dr. Hackett wrote, “The #TheatreCapChallenge is an initiative from the PatientSafe Network in response to concerns about how easily avoidable mistakes and poor communication are contributing to rising adverse events for our patients. It has been adopted around the world with studies from the US and UK demonstrating how this simple idea can decrease human errors in healthcare.”

    Medical professionals everywhere showed their support for the challenge and began posting photos of themselves on their social media pages with their name and title written on their caps. Hundreds of medical staff have embraced the idea and hope to help make it a common practice