Reel Doctor Talk

Junior Mints weren't on the checklist

By Smitha R. Chadaga MD

With most shows on a mid season break, classic shows are back in rotation on my Hulu account.  And the other night I stumbled across Seinfeld's Junior Mint episode.  Jerry (Jerry Seinfeld) and Kramer (Michael Richards) watch their friend's surgery from the operating theatre and of course Kramer sneaks in candy.  And somehow a Junior Mint ends up in the patient's body.  Outside of a freak candy accident, there a numerous safe guards in place to make sure patients have the safest surgeries possible.  One of those safe guards is a surgery checklist.


In 2007 the World Health Organization (WHO) launched the Second Global Patient Safety Challenge: Safe Surgery Saves Lives.  They gathered experts from all over the world, did extensive research and created the WHO Surgery Checklist to reduce complications from surgery. They then took the checklist to eight cities around the world and data was collected on about 8000 patients which showed the checklist decreased surgery related complications and death.


The WHO Surgery Checklist has sections for before, during and after the surgery.  After all the interviews and research, screening for Junior Mints didn't make the list.