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This case involves a 2-year-old girl with acute myelogenous leukemia and thrombocytopenia (platelet count 26,000 per microliter) who underwent implantation of a central venous catheter with a subcutaneous port. The anesthetist asked the surgeon to order a platelet transfusion to increase the child’s platelet count to above 50,000 per microliter. In the post-anesthesia care unit, the patient’s arterial blood pressure started fluctuating and she developed cardiac arrest.

Chiel L, Freiman E, Yarahuan J, et al. Hosp Pediatr. 2021;12(1):e35-e38.
Medical residents write patient care orders overnight that are often not reviewed by attending physicians until the next morning. This study used the hospital’s data warehouse and retrospective chart review to examine 5927 orders over a 12-month period, 538 were included in the analysis. Key reasons for order changes included medical decision making, patient trajectory, and medication errors. Authors suggest errors of omission may be an area to direct safety initiatives in the future.
Lederman J, Lindström V, Elmqvist C, et al. BMC Emerg Med. 2021;21(1):154.
Patients who are treated by emergency medical services (EMS) personnel but not transported to the hospital are referred to as non-conveyed patients. In this retrospective cohort study, researchers found that older adult patients in Sweden are at an increased risk of adverse events (such as infection, hospitalization, or death) within 7-days following non-conveyance.
Brush JE, Sherbino J, Norman GR. BMJ. 2022;Epub Jan 7.
Misdiagnosis of heart failure can lead to serious patient harm. This article reviews the cognitive psychology of diagnostic reasoning in cardiology. Strategies for educators, students, and researchers to reduce cardiovascular misdiagnosis are presented.

The medication-use process is highly complex with many steps and risk points for error, and those errors are a key target for improving safety. This Library reflects a curated selection of PSNet content focused on medication and drug errors. Included resources explore understanding harms from preventable medication use, medication safety improvement strategies, and resources for design.

Al Rowily A, Jalal Z, Price MJ, et al. Eur J Clin Pharmacol. 2021;Epub Dec 22.
Although direct acting oral anticoagulants (DAOCs) are generally considered safer than older anticoagulants, they are still high-risk medications. This review found that between 5.3% and 37.3% of patients experienced either a prescription, administration, or dosing error. Prescribing errors constituted the majority of error types, and common causes were active failures, including wrong drug or wrong dose.

Institute for Healthcare Improvement. March 15 - April 26, 2022.

Root cause analysis (RCA) is a widely recognized retrospective strategy for learning from failure that is challenging to implement. This series of webinars will feature an innovative approach to RCA that expands on the concept to facilitate its use in incident investigations. Instructors for the series will include Dr. Terry Fairbanks and Dr. Tejal K. Gandhi.
Gibson BA, McKinnon E, Bentley RC, et al. Arch Pathol Lab Med. 2021;Epub Oct 21.
A shared understanding of terminology is critical to providing appropriate treatment and care. This study assessed pathologist and clinician agreement of commonly-used phrases used to describe diagnostic uncertainty in surgical pathology reports. Phrases with the strongest agreement in meaning were “diagnostic of” and “consistent with”. “Suspicious for” and “compatible with” had the weakest agreement. Standardized diagnostic terms may improve communication.
Haque H, Alrowily A, Jalal Z, et al. Int J Clin Pharm. 2021;43(6):1693-1704.
While direct oral anticoagulants (DOAC) are considered safer than warfarin, DOAC-related medication errors still occur. This study assesses the frequency, type, and potential causality of DOAC-related medication errors and the nature of clinical pharmacist intervention. Active, rather than latent, failures contributed to most errors.

McMaster Faculty of Health Sciences Office of Continuing Professional Development, and McMaster Education Research, Innovation, and Theory. February 16, 2022 (10:00 AM –4:00 PM (eastern).

Clinical reasoning is vulnerable to a variety of cognitive and environmental conditions that can affect its accuracy. This virtual conference will explore how artificial intelligence, system influences, and social integrity impact clinical reasoning.
Theobald KA, Tutticci N, Ramsbotham J, et al. Nurse Educ Pract. 2021;57:103220.
Simulation training is often used to develop clinical and nontechnical skills as part of nursing education.  This systematic review found that repeated simulation exposures can lead to gains in clinical reasoning and critical thinking. Two emerging concepts – situation awareness and teamwork – can enhance clinical reasoning within simulation. With more nursing schools turning to simulation to replace clinical site placement, which is in short supply, understanding of simulation in training is critical.
Groves PS, Bunch JL, Sabin JA. J Clin Nurs. 2021;30(23-24):3385-3397.
While many studies have been conducted on implicit bias in healthcare, a gap exists in nurse-specific bias and impact on disparities. This scoping review identified 215 research reports on nurse bias and/or care disparities. Most were descriptive in nature and only 12 included evaluating an intervention designed to reduce nurse-related bias. Recommendations for future research include development and testing of interventions designed to reduce nurse-related bias.
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.
Ly DP. Ann Emerg Med. 2021;78(5):650-657.
A common type of diagnostic error is availability bias, or diagnosing a patient based on experiences with past similar cases. This study examined whether an emergency physician’s recent experience of a patient presenting with shortness of breath and diagnosed with pulmonary embolism increased subsequent pulmonary embolism diagnoses. While pulmonary embolism diagnosis did increase over the following ten days, that effect did not persist over the 50 days following the first 10 days.
Dunbar NM, Kaufman RM. Transfusion (Paris). 2022;62(1):44-50.
Wrong blood in tube (WBIT) errors can be classified as intended patient drawn/wrong label applied or wrong patient/intended label applied. In this international study, errors were divided almost evenly between the two types and most were a combination of protocol violations (e.g. technology not used or not used appropriately) and slips/lapses (e.g., registration errors). Additional contributory factors and recommendations for improvement are also discussed.
Vo J, Gillman A, Mitchell K, et al. Clin J Oncol Nurs. 2021;25(5):17-24.
Racial and ethnic disparities in healthcare can affect patient safety and contribute to adverse health outcomes. This review outlines the impact of health disparities and treatment decision-making biases (implicit bias, default bias, delay discounting, and availability bias) on cancer-related adverse effects among Black cancer survivors. The authors identify several ways that nurses to help mitigate health disparity-related adverse treatment effects, such as providing culturally appropriate care; assessing patient health literacy and comprehension; educating, empowering, and advocating for patients; and adhering to evidence-based guidelines for monitoring and management of treatment-related adverse events. The authors also discuss the importance of ongoing training on the impact of structural racism, ways to mitigate its effects, and the role of research and implementation to reduce implicit bias.
Seidl E, Seidl O. J Healthc Risk Manag. 2021;41(2):9-17.
Diagnostic safety is a patient safety priority across all medical specialties. Over a five-year period, researchers found that 15% of patients referred for psychosomatic consultations at one university hospital were misdiagnosed. Misdiagnosis was primarily attributed to availability bias or other biases. Semi-structured interviews with referring physicians highlight the contributing role of physician attitudes and unusual clinical features.
Rosenthal CM, Parker DM, Thompson LA. JAMA Pediatr. 2021;Epub Oct 19.
The care of child abuse victims is affected by resource, racial and infrastructure challenges. This commentary describes how the systemic weaknesses catalyzed by poor data collection approaches contribute to misdiagnosis and suggests that successes be mined to minimize the proliferation of continued disparities in this patient population.