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De Cassai A, Negro S, Geraldini F, et al. PLoS One. 2021;16(9):e0257508.
Inattentional blindness occurs when individuals miss an unexpected event due to competing attentional tasks.  This study asked anesthesiologists to review the anesthetic management of five simulated cases, one of which included the image of a gorilla in the radiograph, to evaluate inattentional blindness. Only 4.9% of social media respondents reported an abnormality, suggesting that inattentional blindness may be common; the authors suggest several strategies to reduce this error.

Bekes JL, Sackash CR, Voss AL, et al. AANA J. 2021;89(4):319-324.

Pediatric medication errors during anesthesia can lead to significant harm and are largely preventable. This review identifies several themes around medication errors including dosing and incorrect medication. Successful error reduction strategies, such as standardized labeling and pre-filled syringes, are also described.
Sotto KT, Burian BK, Brindle ME. J Am Coll Surg. 2021;233(6):794-809.e8.
The World Health Organization (WHO) Surgical Safety Checklist has been implemented in healthcare systems around the world. This systematic review and thematic analysis concluded that the surgical safety checklist positively impacts clinical outcomes (surgical outcomes and mortality), process measures, team dynamics, and communication, as well as safety culture. The authors note that the checklist was negatively associated with efficiency and workload; included studies often noted that checklist users felt the checklist slowed down processes within the operating room
Burden AR, Potestio C, Pukenas E. Adv Anesth. 2021;39:133-148.
Handoffs occur several times during a perioperative encounter, increasing the risk of communication errors. Structured handoffs, such as situation-background-assessment-recommendation (SBAR) and checklists, have been shown to improve communication between providers during anesthesia care. The authors discuss how these tools and other processes can improve shared understanding of effective handoffs.
Krishnan S, Wheeler KK, Pimentel MP, et al. J Healthc Risk Manag. 2021;Epub Oct 28.
Incident reporting systems are used to detect patient safety concerns and determine potential causes and opportunities for improvements. In the perioperative setting of one hospital, insufficient handoffs were the most common event type in the “coordination of care” category. Use of structured handoffs is recommended to improve communication and patient safety.
Urban D, Burian BK, Patel K, et al. Ann Surg. 2021;2(3):e075.
The WHO surgical safety checklist has been implemented in healthcare systems around the world. Survey responses from 2,032 surgical team members from high-income countries suggest that most respondents perceive the checklist as enhancing patient safety, but that not all team members are engaging with its use or feel confident in their role in the checklist process.

Understanding the ways in which human factors, such as non-technical skills, influence individual and team performance can ultimately improve patient safety, particularly in high-intensity settings such as operating rooms. The Observation of Non-technical Skills and Teamwork (ONSet) program, created by the Cambridge University Hospitals, uses observation and feedback from Human Factors Champions to evaluate the impact of human factors education in operating rooms.

A 78-year-old woman with macular degeneration presented for a pars plana vitrectomy (PPV) under monitored anesthesia care (MAC) with an eye block. At this particular hospital, eye cases under MAC are typically performed with an eye block by the surgeon after the anesthesiologist has administered some short-acting sedation, commonly with remifentanil. On this day, there was a shortage of premixed remifentanil and the resident – who was unfamiliar with the process of drug dilution – incorrectly diluted the remifentanil solution.

Hofer IS, Cheng D, Grogan T. Anesth Analg. 2021;133(3):698-706.
Anesthesia-related adverse events have been associated with increased length of stay, morbidity and mortality. This study investigated the effect of missed documentation of select comorbidities on postoperative length of stay and mortality. Results indicate that missed documentation of one of the comorbid conditions increased risk of length of stay, and mortality was increased with missed atrial fibrillation.
US Food and Drug Administration. October 7, 2021.
Errors of commission during complex procedures can contribute to patient harm. Drawing from an analysis of medical device reports submitted to the Food and Drug Administration, this updated announcement seeks to raise awareness of common adverse events associated with surgical staplers and implantable staples. User-related problems include opening of the staple line, misapplied staples, and staple gun difficulties. Recommendations include ensuring availability of various staple sizes and avoiding use of staples on large blood vessels.
Liu LQ, Mehigan S. AORN J. 2021;114(2):159-170.
Surgical safety checklists (SSC) have been shown to improve outcomes, but effective implementation remains a challenge. This systematic review evaluated the effectiveness of interventions to increase compliance with the World Health Organization’s SSC for adult surgery. Interventions generally fell into one of four categories: modifying the method of SSC delivery, integrating or tailoring the tool for local context, promoting awareness and engagement, and managing organizational policy. Study findings suggest that all approaches resulted in some improvement in compliance.
Ranum D, Beverly A, Shapiro FE, et al. J Patient Saf. 2021;17(7):513-521.
This analysis of medical malpractice claims identified four leading causes of anesthesia-related claims involving ambulatory surgery centers – dental injuries, pain, nerve damage, and death. The authors discuss the role of preoperative risk assessment, use of routine dental and airway assessment, adequate treatment of perioperative pain, and improving communication between patients and providers.

This piece discusses an expanded view of maternal and infant safety that includes the concept of whole-person care, which addresses the structural and social determinants of maternal health.

Alison Stuebe, MD, MSc, is a professor and Division Director for Maternal-Fetal Medicine in the Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology at the University of North Carolina (UNC) at Chapel Hill and the co-director of the Collaborative for Maternal and Infant Health. Kristin Tully, PhD, is a research assistant professor in the Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology at UNC Chapel Hill and a member of the Collaborative for Maternal and Infant Health.

Sauro KM, Machan M, Whalen-Browne L, et al. J Patient Saf. 2021;17(8):e1285-e1295.
Hospital adverse events are common and can contribute to serious patient harm. This systematic review included 94 studies (representing 590 million admissions from 25 countries) examining trends in hospital adverse events from 1961 to 2014. Findings indicate that hospital adverse events have increased over time and that over half are considered preventable.
Sood N, Lee RE, To JK, et al. Birth. 2021;Epub Sep 8.
Cesarean delivery can contribute to increased maternal morbidity. This retrospective study found that the introduction of a hospital-wide perioperative bundle significantly reduced surgical site infection rates. The perioperative bundle consisted of five elements (1) an antibiotic protocol, (2) preoperative warming and intraoperative maintenance of normal temperature, (3) standardized surgical preparation for each patient, (4) use of standardized fascial closure trays, and (5) standardized intraoperative application of wound dressing.