health

Australian doctors and nurses are wearing their names on their heads. And it's genius.

Imagine the shock of seeing your surgeon preparing to cut you open while his name and position are written across his forehead.

Does this guy not know his own name?

But a move spearheaded by Sydney anaesthetist Dr Rob Hackett has seen surgical teams across the nation – and the world – do just that.

All of them are showing up to theatre with their surgical masks below surgical caps emblazoned with names and titles like: “Rob … Anaesthetist”.

“You look a little daft because not everyone is doing it,” Dr Hackett told The Sydney Morning Herald. He’s also likely been the subject of several jibes from coworkers and patients alike.

But, six months on from his signature surgical hat debut, and several others have followed suit.

It’s all in the name of safety, with the purpose of reducing the risk of misidentification during surgery and minimising delays – we’ve all had that moment of thinking ‘what is that person’s name again’ and (usually) they’re not even wearing surgical masks.

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“Last Friday I went to a cardiac arrest in a theatre where there were about 20 people in the room. I struggled to even ask to be passed some gloves because the person I was pointing to thought I was pointing to the person behind them,” Hackett told The Sydney Morning Herald.

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“It’s so much easier to coordinate when you know everyone’s names. It’s great for camaraderie and it’s great for patients as well.”

Hackett says it will also save lives:

“Medical error reported as the third greatest cause of death,” Hackett tweeted last December. “We shouldn’t expect this to change if we’re not prepared to change ourselves.”

Surgeons, anaesthetists, nurses and midwives are all jumping on board. There’s even a hashtag #TheatreCapChallenge.

And, as for the rest of us, at least we know there’s no cause for alarm when we see a surgeon who looks like they’ve forgotten their name. It’s really for our safety – or so they say.

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