Gunnar W, Soncrant C, Lynn MM, et al. J Patient Saf. 2020;16:255-258.
Retained surgical items (RSI) are considered ‘never events’ but continue to occur. In this study, researchers compared the RSI rate in Veterans Health (VA) surgery programs with (n=46) and without (n=91) surgical count technology and analyzed the resulting root cause analyses (RCA) for these events. The RSI rate was significantly higher in for the programs with surgical count technology compared to the programs without (1/18,221 vs. 1/30,593). Analysis of RCAs found the majority of incidents (64%) involved human factors issues (e.g., staffing changes during shifts, staff fatigue), policy/procedure failures (e.g., failure to perform methodical wound sweep) or communication errors.
Farnborough, UK; Healthcare Safety Investigation Branch; December 18, 2019.
Maternal care during and after childbirth is at risk for never events including retained foreign objects. This analysis of a sentinel event involving a retained surgical tampon after childbirth discusses communication, fatigue, and process factors that contributed to the incident. The report suggests improved handoffs as one improvement strategy.
Sixth Report of Session 2008–09. House of Commons Health Committee. London, England: The Stationery Office; July 3, 2009. Publication HC 151-I.
This government report analyzes the National Health Service's efforts to enhance patient safety and recommends improving certain areas, such as adopting technology, analyzing failure, and ensuring both practitioner education and adequate staffing.
Intern J Health Care Qual Assur. 2007;20(7):555-632.
This special issue includes articles by authors from Australia, Israel, France, Iran, and Belgium that explore ideas such as building a culture of safety, replacing medical equipment, and measuring safety improvements.
Following surgery, a woman on a patient-controlled analgesia pump is found to be lethargic and incoherent, with a low respiratory rate. The nurse contacted the attending physician, who dismisses the patient's symptoms and chastises the nurse for the late call.
This series includes articles on "doorway diagnosis" (or a doctor's assessment of a patient before an exam begins), anesthesiologists addicted to painkillers, and medical mistakes in the emergency room.
Wright MC, Phillips-Bute B, Mark JB, et al. Qual Saf Health Care. 2006;15:258-63.
This cohort study examined the relationship between surgery start time and anesthetic adverse events (AEs) using a large database of anesthesia procedures at an academic medical center. The incidence of AEs was increased for surgical procedures starting in the late afternoon compared with those starting in the morning. The authors hypothesize that this finding could reflect fatigue (as demonstrated in a prior simulation study) or problems with care transitions; however, they were not able to directly measure case load or composition of the care team. Moreover, for most AEs, the authors could not determine whether patients were harmed or whether the error was preventable.
Dublin: Irish Society for Quality and Safety in Healthcare; 2004.
This report provides results from a 26-hospital survey investigating areas of service and care weakness in Irish hospitals. The research revealed problems related to information transfer, overwork, and lack of patient involvement in decision making about their care.
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