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A 67-year-old man with well-controlled type 2 diabetes mellitus underwent elective cardiac resynchronization and defibrillator device (CRT-D) implantation. The procedure was successful and he was discharged the next day with instructions to resume his prior medications, including empagliflozin. He presented to the emergency department the following day where he was diagnosed with euglycemic diabetic ketoacidosis (eDKA) and he was transferred to the intensive care unit (ICU) for insulin infusion.
This case describes the failure to identify a brewing abdominal process, which over the span of hours led to fulminant sepsis with rapid clinical deterioration and eventual demise. The patient’s ascitic fluid cultures and autopsy findings confirmed bowel perforation, but this diagnosis was never explicitly considered.
Addressing diagnostic errors to improve outcomes and patient safety has long been a problem in the US healthcare system.1 Many methods of reducing diagnostic error focus on individual factors and single cases, instead of focusing on the contribution of system factors or looking at diagnostic errors across a disease or clinical condition. Instead of addressing individual cases, KP sought to improve the disease diagnosis process and systems. The goal was to address the systemic root cause issues in systems that lead to diagnostic errors.
During an elective diagnostic cardiac catheterization, the cardiologist unintentionally perforated the patient’s left ventricular wall with the catheter. The cardiologist failed to recognize the perforation, failed to take corrective measures to address the problem, and continued with the cardiac catheterization, including coronary angiographic imaging. Soon after the end of the procedure, the patient complained of severe chest pain and echocardiographic images revealed bleeding around the heart caused by the catheter-related ventricular wall perforation.
With increasing recognition that health is linked to the conditions in which a patient lives, health systems are looking for innovative ways to support recently discharged patients in their lives outside of the hospital. In a recent innovation, Prime Healthcare Services, Inc., which includes a network of 45 hospitals, provided social needs assessments and strengthened its partnerships with community agencies to support the health of high-needs patients after their discharge from the hospital.
A 61-year-old women with a mechanical aortic valve on chronic warfarin therapy was referred to the emergency department (ED) for urgent computed tomography (CT) imaging of the right leg to rule out an arterial clot. CT imaging revealed two arterial thromboses the right lower extremity and an echocardiogram revealed a thrombus near the prosthetic heart valve. The attending physician ordered discontinuation of warfarin and initiation of a heparin drip.
US Senate Finance Committee. 117th Cong (2021-2022). August 3, 2022.
This WebM&M describes two cases involving patients who became unresponsive in unconventional locations – inside of a computed tomography (CT) scanner and at an outpatient transplant clinic – and strategies to ensure that all healthcare teams are prepared to deliver advanced cardiac life support (ACLS), such as the use of mock codes and standardized ACLS algorithms.