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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.
Marziliano A, Burns E, Chauhan L, et al. J Gerontol A Biol Sci Med Sci. 2022;77:e124-e132.
Many COVID-19 patients present with atypical symptoms, such as delirium, smell and taste dysfunction, or cardiovascular features. Based on inpatient electronic health record data between March 1 and April 20 of 2020, this cohort study examined the frequency of atypical presentation of COVID-19 among older adults. Analyses suggest that atypical presentation was often characterized by functional decline or altered mental status.
Krancevich NM, Belfer JJ, Draper HM, et al. Ann Pharmacother. 2022;56:52-59.
Prescribing opioids to opioid-naïve patients after hospital discharge may lead to chronic use. This study evaluated long-term opioid use among patients admitted directly to the ICU and who received intravenous opioids. While long-term opioid use was more common among patients who received an opioid prescription at discharge, the authors did not find a significant relationship between ICU opioid prescribing in opioid-naïve patients and long-term opioid use. The authors suggest future research focus on transitions from hospital to home or other post-acute sites to reduce inappropriate opioid use.
Horberg MA, Nassery N, Rubenstein KB, et al. Diagnosis (Berl). 2021;8:479-488.
Missed or delayed diagnosis of sepsis can lead to serious patient harm. This study used a Symptom-Disease Pair Analysis of Diagnostic Error (SPADE) “look-forward” analysis to measure potential misdiagnosis of sepsis in patients discharged from the emergency department (ED) with treat-and-release fluid and electrolyte disorders (FED) or altered mental status (AMS). FED and AMS were associated with a spike in sepsis hospitalizations in the 7-day period following the ED visit. The authors suggest SPADE could be used to compare sepsis diagnostic performance across institutions and regions; develop interventions for targeted subgroups; and update early warning systems for sepsis diagnosis.
Han D, Khadka A, McConnell M, et al. JAMA Netw Open. 2020;3:e2024589.
Unexpected death or serious disability of a newborn is considered a never event. A cross-sectional analysis including over 5 million births between 2011 and 2017 in the United States found unexpected newborn death was associated with a significant increase in use of procedures to avert or mitigate fetal distress and newborn complications (e.g., cesarean delivery, antibiotic use for suspected sepsis). These findings could reflect increased caution among clinicals or indicate more proactive attempts to identify and address potential complications.  
Maloney LM, Alptunaer T, Coleman G, et al. J Emerg Med. 2020;59:872-883.
Naloxone administration in inpatient and outpatient settings is used to mitigate the effects of opioid overdose. This study, conducted at one academic medical center, found that an increasing number prehospital naloxone doses for suspected opioid overdose was significantly associated with an increased likelihood of adverse events (AEs) in the emergency department (ED).
Sanson G, Marino C, Valenti A, et al. Heart & Lung. 2020;49:407-414.
Prospective observational study examined whether nursing complexity level predicts adverse event risk among patients transferred from the ICU to the discharge ward. In this 13-bed ICU, researchers found that various factors including level of acuity and nursing complexity predated risk of adverse events (AEs); patients who exceeded a predetermined complexity threshold were at 3-times greater risk of AEs.
Hajibandeh S, Hajibandeh S, Satyadas T. The Surgeon. 2019;18:231-240.
Differences in weekend care for inpatients have been reported; however, the patient safety implications of the weekend effect are unclear. This meta-analysis pooled data from over 390,000 patients and found there was a higher risk of postoperative mortality among patients undergoing emergency general surgery on the weekends in the United States and Europe.
Westman M, Takala R, Rahi M, et al. World Neurosurg. 2019.
Checklists have been shown to improve patient safety in various surgical specialties but this systematic review found that evidence of their impact in neurosurgery is still limited given emerging technologies such as robotics and artificial intelligence. Studies with larger neurosurgical patient populations, as well as in relation to robotic neurosurgery, are needed to understand the impact of checklists in neurosurgery.
Soffin EM, Lee BH, Kumar KK, et al. Br J Anaesth. 2019;122:e198-e208.
Reducing opioid prescribing in pain management is a key strategy to address the opioid crisis. This review highlights the unique role of the anesthesiologist in this approach. The authors emphasize preoperative identification of patients at risk for long-term opioid use and suggest organizational, clinical, and research strategies that can be led by anesthesiologists to reduce opioid use.
Sheetz KH, Dimick JB. JAMA. 2019;321:1971-1972.
The FDA recently raised awareness of the potential risks associated with the use of robotic-assisted surgical devices in mastectomies or cancer-related care. This commentary spotlights how payers, hospitals, and clinicians can prevent harm related to robotic surgical device use. Strategies to improve safety include enhanced credentialing, device-specific training, and informed consent. A WebM&M commentary discussed an incident of harm associated with robotic-assisted surgery.
Sun E, Mello MM, Rishel CA, et al. JAMA. 2019;321:762-772.
Scheduling overlapping surgeries has raised substantial patient safety concerns. However, research regarding the impact of concurrent surgery on patient outcomes has produced conflicting results. In this multicenter retrospective cohort study, researchers examined the relationship between overlapping surgery and mortality, postoperative complications, and surgery duration for 66,430 surgeries between January 2010 and May 2018. Although overlapping surgery was not significantly associated with an increase in mortality or complications overall, researchers did find a significant association between overlapping surgery and increased length of surgery. An accompanying editorial discusses the role of overlapping surgery in promoting the autonomy of those in surgical training and suggests that further research is needed to settle the debate regarding the impact of overlapping surgery on patient safety.
Kozhimannil KB. Health Aff (Millwood). 2018;37:1901-1904.
Maternal harm is a sentinel event that is gaining increased attention in both policy and clinical environments. In this commentary, the author relates her family history of maternal morbidity and mortality and advocates for enhancements in collecting data on maternal health outcomes, access to care, understanding of racial disparities, accountability, and listening to patients and families who have been impacted by unsafe maternal care.
Chrouser KL, Xu J, Hallbeck S, et al. Am J Surg. 2018;216:573-584.
Stressful clinician interactions can diminish the teamwork required to support safe care. This review describes a framework for guiding understanding of how behavioral and emotional responses can affect team behavior, performance, and patient outcomes in the surgical setting. The authors recommend areas of research required to fully understand the phenomenon.
Bergl PA, Nanchal RS, Singh H. Ann Am Thorac Soc. 2018;15:903-907.
Elements of critical care can influence the reliability of diagnosis, teamwork, and care delivery. This commentary recommends areas for research to reduce diagnostic error in the intensive care unit. The authors highlight the need for intensivist involvement to define distinct roles and actions in their specialty for diagnostic improvement.
Schnapp BH, Sun JE, Kim JL, et al. Diagnosis (Berl). 2018;5:135-142.
In 2015, the National Academy of Medicine called for renewed focus on reducing diagnostic error. Among patients admitted to the hospital shortly after discharge home from the emergency department, researchers found that 19% of cases involved a cognitive error, such as faulty information processing or inaccurate data verification, which may contribute to diagnostic errors.
Law AC, Roche S, Reichheld A, et al. Jt Comm J Qual Patient Saf. 2019;45:276-284.
Emotional and psychological harm are understudied but common preventable adverse events. Overt disrespect from health care providers and the lasting psychological impact of safety hazards both contribute to emotional harm. This large, prospective study explored emotional harm among 1559 family members of intensive care unit patients at a hospital in Boston, Massachusetts. About 22% of family members reported inadequate respect toward either themselves or the patient, and more than half of respondents perceived a lack of control over their loved one's care. Inadequate respect and lack of control were strongly correlated with overall satisfaction with care. A WebM&M commentary discussed the utility of family-centered care to preventing harm in the intensive care unit.