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Ang D, Nieto K, Sutherland M, et al. Am Surg. 2022;88:587-596.
Patient safety indicators (PSI) are measures that focus on quality of care and potentially preventable adverse events. This study estimated odds of preventable mortality of older adults with traumatic injuries and identified the PSIs that are associated with the highest level of preventable mortality.  Strategies to reduce preventable mortality in older adults are presented (e.g. utilization of national guidelines, minimization of central venous catheter use, addressing polypharmacy).
Bernstein SL, Kelechi TJ, Catchpole K, et al. Worldviews Evid Based Nurs. 2021;18:352-360.
Failure to rescue, the delayed or missed recognition of a potentially fatal complication that results in the patient’s death, is particularly tragic in obstetric care. Using the Systems Engineering Initiative for Patient Safety (SEIPS) framework, the authors describe the work system, process, and outcomes related to failure to rescue, and develop intervention theories.

A seven-year-old girl with esophageal stenosis underwent upper endoscopy with esophageal dilation under general anesthesia. During the procedure, she was fully monitored with a continuous arterial oxygen saturation probe, heart rate monitors, two-lead electrocardiography, continuous capnography, and non-invasive arterial blood pressure measurements.

Bacon CT, McCoy TP, Henshaw DS. J Nurs Adm. 2021;51(1) :12-18.
Lack of communication and interpersonal dynamics can contribute to failure to rescue. This study surveyed 262 surgical staff about perceived safety climate, but the authors did not find an association between organizational safety culture and failure to rescue or inpatient mortality.  
Dykes PC, Lowenthal G, Faris A, et al. J Patient Saf. 2021;17:56-62.
Failure to rescue – the lack of adequate response to patient deterioration – has been associated with adverse patient outcomes, particularly in acute care settings. This article describes two health systems’ efforts to implement in-hospital Clinical Monitoring System Technology (CMST) which positively impacted failure-to-rescue events. The authors identified barriers and facilitators to CMST use, which informed the development of an implementation toolkit addressing readiness, implementation, patient/family introduction, champions, and troubleshooting. 

Hannenberg AA, ed. Anesthesiol Clin. 2020;38(4):727-922.

Anesthesiology critical events are uncommon, and yet they have great potential for harm. This special issue focuses on management of, and preparation for, perioperative critical events and rescue should they occur. The authors highlight simulation training, debriefing, and cognitive aids as methods for improving safety in the operating room.
Lin DM, Peden CJ, Langness SM, et al. Anesth Analg. 2020;131:e155-1159.
The anesthesia community has been a leader in patient safety innovation for over four decades. This conference summary highlights presented content related to the conference theme of “preventing, detecting, and mitigating clinical deterioration in the perioperative period.” The results of a human-centered design analysis exploring tactics to reduce failure to rescue were summarized.

Holmes A, Long A, Wyant B, et al. Rockville, MD: Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality; March 2020. AHRQ Publication No. 20-0029-EF.

This newly issued follow up to the seminal AHRQ Making Health Care Safer report (first published in 2001 and updated in 2013 critically examines the evidence supporting 47 separate patient safety practices chosen for the high-impact harms they address. It includes diagnostic errors, failure to rescue, sepsis, infections due to multi-drug resistant organisms, adverse drug events and nursing-sensitive conditions. The report discusses the evidence on cross-cutting safety practices, including safety culture, teamwork and team training, clinical decision support, patient and family engagement, cultural competency, staff education and training, and monitoring, audit and feedback. The report provides recommendations for clinicians and decision-makers on effective patient safety practices.
Failure to rescue is both a concept and a measure of hospital quality and safety. The concept captures the idea that systems should be able to rapidly identify and treat complications when they occur, while the measure has been defined as the inability to prevent death after a complication develops.
Chiu RG. AMA J Ethics. 2019;21:E553-558.
Although disclosure of medical error to patients is difficult, it is an ethical responsibility. This article discusses situations involving patients who are incapacitated and unrepresented but have no surrogate present to assist in communication and care coordination. Despite this challenge, the author argues that the clinician and organization still have the responsibility to document what happened, communicate what is known, and rectify the mistake.
First admitted to the hospital at 25 weeks of pregnancy for vaginal bleeding, a woman (G5 P2 A2) received 4 units of packed red blood cells and 2 doses of iron injections. She was discharged after 3 days with an improved hemoglobin level. At 35 weeks, she was admitted for an elective cesarean delivery. Intraoperatively, an upper uterine segment incision was made and the newborn was delivered in good condition. Immediately after, a subtotal hysterectomy was performed. The anesthesiologist noted that the patient was hypotensive; blood was transfused.
Palmer J. Patient Saf Qual Healthc. May/June 2019.
Organizations must learn from adverse events to prevent similar incidents. Reporting on lessons to be learned from the cascade of failures connected with the preventable death of a patient during an acute asthma attack at the door of a hospital emergency department, this magazine article outlines the importance of effective signage, appropriate security staff placement, and acceptance of the responsibility for failure.
Wood C, Chaboyer W, Carr P. Int J Nurs Stud. 2019;94:166-178.
Early detection of patient deterioration remains an elusive patient safety target. This scoping review examined how nurses employ early warning scoring systems that prompt them to call rapid response teams. Investigators identified 23 studies for inclusion. Barriers to effective identification and treatment of patient deterioration included difficulty implementing early warning score systems, overreliance on numeric risk scores, and inconsistent activation of rapid response teams based on early warning score results. They recommend that nurses follow scoring algorithms that calculate risk for deterioration while supplementing risk scoring with their clinical judgment from the bedside. A WebM&M commentary highlighted how early recognition of patient deterioration requires not only medical expertise but also collaboration and communication among providers.
Ross C. STAT. May 13, 2019.
Nuisance alarms, interruptions, and insufficient staff availability can hinder effective monitoring and response to acute patient deterioration. This news article reports on how hospital logistics centers are working toward utilizing artificial intelligence to improve clinician response to alarms by proactively identifying hospitalized patients at the highest risk for heart failure to trigger emergency response teams when their condition rapidly declines.
Dasani SS, Simmons KD, Wirtalla CJ, et al. J Surg Educ. 2019;76:1319-1328.
Surgical proficiency gained from performing a higher volume of certain procedures is associated with fewer errors. This study used data from the National Surgical Quality Improvement Program to examine uncommon procedures and their surgical complication rates, with and without trainee participation. As expected, uncommon operations entailed significant rates of morbidity and mortality. Resident involvement was associated with higher likelihood that a patient in distress would be successfully resuscitated but was also associated with a longer operative time. The authors suggest that simulation training for uncommon procedures for residents may improve outcomes. A PSNet perspective reflected on patient safety in surgery.
Chalwin R, Giles L, Salter A, et al. Jt Comm J Qual Patient Saf. 2019;45:268-275.
Rapid response teams remain a well-established patient safety strategy and are frequently implemented in order to identify deteriorating patients early so that appropriate care can be provided quickly. However, evidence supporting their effectiveness remains mixed. In this retrospective study, researchers found that patients who triggered a rapid response call but who met ongoing rapid response criteria when the initial call ended and then triggered a repeat call had significantly higher odds of mortality compared to patients with a single rapid response call during their admission.
Following surgery under general anesthesia, a boy was extubated and brought to postanesthesia care unit (PACU). Due to the patient's age and length of the surgery, the PACU anesthesiologist ordered continuous pulse-oximetry monitoring for 24 hours. Deemed stable to leave the PACU, the boy was transported to the regular floor. When the nurse went to place the patient on pulse oximetry, she realized he was markedly hypoxic. She administered oxygen by face mask, but he became bradycardic and hypotensive and a code blue was called.
Smith ME, Wells EE, Friese CR, et al. Health Aff (Millwood). 2018;37:1870-1876.
When a patient experiences a major surgical complication, a health care team's inability to prevent subsequent postoperative death is known as failure to rescue. Stakeholders at five Michigan hospitals identified two changeable causes of failure to rescue: delayed recognition of evolving complications and communication deficiencies. A WebM&M commentary discussed a failure to rescue and system-level means to address the adverse outcome.
Parshuram CS, Dryden-Palmer K, Farrell C, et al. JAMA. 2018;319:1002-1012.
Identifying incipient clinical deterioration is a prerequisite for rapid response and prevention of harm for hospitalized patients. This study tested a bedside pediatric early warning system, which included an illness severity score, standardized documentation, and monitoring protocols. In a cluster-randomized trial in several high-income countries, implementation of the bundle did not result in decreased in-hospital mortality compared to usual care. The overall mortality rate in the study was less than 0.2%. The authors suggest that this unexpectedly low mortality rate may have made it difficult to detect differences in intervention versus control hospitals. A related editorial suggests that artificial intelligence should be used to identify clinical deterioration and that outcomes beyond mortality should be considered in their evaluation.
Admitted to gynecology due to excess bleeding and low hemoglobin after elective surgery, an older woman developed severe pain, nausea, and new-onset atrial fibrillation. She was moved to the telemetry unit where cardiologists treated her, and she had episodes of bloody vomit. Intensivists consulted, but the patient arrested while being transferred to the ICU and died despite maximal efforts.