A Sydney based anesthetist has described how he changed the surgery game forever after he wrote his name on his scrub cap to avoid mix-ups in the operating theatre. 

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Dr. Rob Hackett was on the receiving end of a bit of mockery when he made the decision, but after just a few months it’s been taken up by medics across the globe, as it reduces the chance of delays and miss-identification between colleagues in the operating room. Rob is a senior consultant anesthetist who works at several distinguished hospitals throughout Sydney Australia. He has an interest in human factors and is passionate about improving frontline work environments for patient safety.

“There were some snide remarks, like ‘can’t you remember your name?'” Dr. Hackett told the Daily Mail.

“When you work across four or five hospitals and with hundreds of people, I’d say 75 percent of staff I walk past, I don’t know their name. It’s quite awkward. Last Friday I went to a cardiac arrest in a theatre where there were about 20 people in the room at once. 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.”

It means that precious time lost when clinicians can’t remember the names of other people in the operating room, is now saved. It might be only seconds, but under these circumstances, seconds can make the difference between life and death. And it also means that medical students are no longer mistaken for qualified surgeons, and asked to do something they aren’t qualified to do.

The change in attire has even proven so popular that doctors are being encouraged to show their support through the #TheatreCapChallenge hashtag, with surgical staff from across Australia, the UK, US, South America and Europe getting involved:

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