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Twenter P. Becker's Clinical Leadership. October 30, 2023.
This case highlights two “never events” involving the same patient. A first-year orthopedic surgery resident was consulted to aspirate fluid from the left ankle of a patient in the intensive care unit. The resident, accompanied by a second resident, approached the wrong patient and inserted the needle into the patient’s right ankle. At this point, a third resident entered the room and stated that it was the incorrect patient. The commentary highlights the importance of a proper time out and approaches to improve communication among all members of the care team.
Concern over patient safety issues associated with inadequate tracking of test results has grown over the last decade, as it can lead to delays in the recognition of abnormal test results and the absence of a tracking system to ensure short-term patient follow-up.1,2 Missed abnormal tests and the lack of necessary clinical follow-up can lead to a late diagnosis.
A 50-year-old unhoused patient presented to the Emergency Department (ED) for evaluation of abdominal pain, reportedly one day after swallowing multiple sharp objects. Based on the radiologic finding of an open safety pin or paper clip in the distal stomach, he was appropriately scheduled for urgent esophagogastroduodenoscopy and ordered to remain NPO (nothing by mouth) to reduce the risk of aspirating gastric contents.
A 63-year-old man presented from a skilled nursing facility (SNF) with shortness of breath and was treated for mild heart failure exacerbation. An echocardiogram was performed but results were pending on discharge, with anticipation that the patient’s primary care provider would follow up the results. Two weeks later, the patient was readmitted from the SNF and was found to have endocarditis and infected pacemaker wires.
Patient falls in hospitals are common and debilitating adverse events that persist despite decades of effort to minimize them. Improving communication across the assessing nurse, care team, patient, and patient’s most involved friends and family may strengthen fall prevention efforts. A team at Brigham and Women’s Hospital in Boston, Massachusetts, sought to develop a standardized fall prevention program that centered around improved communication and patient and family engagement.