Ramblings of a Tampa engineer
Photo by Marcelo Leal / Unsplash

A couple of days ago I found myself in a "pre-op" or the shorthand for Pre-operative. Basically the area you go before the actually surgery and I learned a lot. I was given a bracelet during the check-in procedure, in which I had to visually confirm the information on it. It was then affixed to my arm and I was into my first room.

The first nurse who entered, covered up my arm and asked me to spell my first and last name, including providing my birthday. She was comparing it to the information I presume on my bracelet. This ensures that I am indeed the person on the bracelet. Probably preventing mistakes of people getting valid wristbands for the wrong person.

The next pair of medical staff who entered were part of the blood team. They did a similar procedure, albeit in a slightly different fashion. One lady woke the computer up and presumably looked up my record. As the other staff member covered my wristband, they asked me to read my name and date of birth aloud. As I read, both staff were checking my information against my band and the computer. As that finished, the staff read the numbers on my wristband as the other confirmed on the computer.

I thought that was it, but they switched positions and did it again. I re-confirmed my name and date of birth as they did the same procedure, but in different roles.

As I met with blood team, anesthesia and a case manager - this flow continued. A protocol in place to prevent mistakes and when done properly, does just that.

I started thinking about protocols, that have been burned into my memory. Basically patterns that become protocol.

  • Looking both ways when crossing road.
  • Seatbelt when entering car.
  • Helmet when getting on bike.

Weak in comparison to the protocol in place in the medical industry, but it reminded me of things I have built.

I wrote internal public documentation for my open source project - Apktool. A protocol for steps to follow, so I don't mess up. Seeing this protocols in place throughout the world is interesting to me. Its basically documentation that is followed to prevent mistakes.

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