By Dr. Brian McDonough

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) – When the stories come out they are usually horrific — a surgical procedure done on the wrong leg, the wrong organ removed from the body, or a sponge left within the body of a person after an operation. These are horror stories in surgery.

But, according to a report from the Netherlands, problems like this could be avoided in many cases by using a checklist to check out safety issues. The checklist includes preoperative, operative, recovery, and post-operative care needs.

In their study the researchers found that by using a simple checklist they reduce the number of complications from 15% to 10%. Perhaps the most important point is that the researchers stressed attention to detail as the key way to avoid problems.

Reported By Dr. Brian McDonough, KYW Newsradio Medical Editor