Graduate medical education and patient safety: a busy--and occasionally hazardous--intersection.
This case study presents the events surrounding the death of a woman admitted to an academic medical center with pancreatitis. The discussion analyzes the sequence of errors that transpired from initial delays in diagnosis and treatment to poor communication and handoffs (the latter is a 2007 National Patient Safety Goal). The authors also explore the common yet unresolved tension in teaching hospitals for attending physicians who must provide appropriate supervision of trainees while also allowing autonomy for growth. This article is the last of a special collection entitled "Quality Grand Rounds," a series of articles published in the Annals of Internal Medicine that explores a range of quality issues and medical errors. An accompanying editorial (available via the link below) by the series editors reflects on the experiences of producing the 13 articles in this collection, the patient safety movement in general, and the importance of sharing these stories as educational tools to drive improvement.