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Simple Cures

This column was written by CBS News Early Show Co-Anchor Harry Smith.

Symptomatic. We read today in the New York Times that doctors have been able to cut operating room deaths in half just by implementing a few simple procedures before surgery begins.

For instance, in the study the surgical team introduced themselves to one another. Even routine operations come with a degree of risk. Doesn't it make sense that there is an ice-breaking moment when the participants can acknowledge one another?

Here's another one. There's a little check list where by the team verifies that the patient on the table is the one who is due to be operated on.

It's all simple stuff and listen up now - most of it doesn't cost anything. And it cut mortality rates in half.

What if the health care system is like the patient in operating room? It has access to all of the latest technology, plenty of capable physicians and nurses and therapists - but it can't save lives unless it gets smarter and simpler.

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