Obstetric and gynecologic (OB/GYN) physicians are frequently involved in malpractice lawsuits, some of which result in catastrophic payouts. This study categorized malpractice claims involving OB/GYN trainees (students, residents, and fellows) between 1986 and 2020. Cases are categorized by type of injury, patient outcome, category of error, outcome of lawsuit, and amount of settlement.
Moody A, Chacin B, Chang C. Curr Opin Anaesthesiol. 2022;35:465-471.
Hospital-acquired pressure injuries are considered a never event. This review presents strategies to prevent pressure injuries in the nonoperating room anesthesia (NORA) population (e.g., patients on ventilators). Proper positioning of the patient, with bolsters and padding, are illustrated.
A 2009 CMS Condition of Participation (CoP) requires that a director of anesthesia services assume overall responsibility for anesthesia administered in the hospital, including procedural sedation provided by nonanesthesiologists. This article reviews the CoP as it relates to procedural sedation, lays out a framework for implementing this role, and describes challenges of implementation in a large health system.
Bentley SK, Meshel A, Boehm L, et al. Adv Simul (Lond). 2022;7:15.
In situ simulations are an effective method to identify latent safety threats (LST). Seventy-four in situ cardiac arrest simulations were conducted in one hospital, identifying 106 unique LSTs. Four LSTs were deemed imminent safety threats and were immediately resolved following debrief; another 15 were prioritized as high-risk.
Gibney BT, Roberts JM, D'Ortenzio RM, et al. RadioGraphics. 2021;41:2111-2126.
Hospitals are increasingly creating and updating their emergency disaster response plans. This guide assists hospital executives, quality & safety professionals, and risk managers by assessing potential hazards or failures in radiology departments in the event of disaster. Disaster planning tools, checklists, and other recommendations are described.
Yonash RA, Taylor M. Patient Safety. 2020;2:24-39.
Wrong-site surgeries can lead to serious patient harm and are considered never events by the National Quality Forum. Based on events reported to the Pennsylvania Patient Safety Reporting System between 2015 and 2019, the authors identified an average of 1.42 wrong-site surgery events per week and found that three-quarters of events resulted in temporary or permanent patient harm. The authors present several evidence-based strategies to reduce the likelihood of wrong-site surgery, including preoperative and intraoperative verification, site marking, and timeouts.
In this retrospective review of root cause analysis (RCA) reports of select gastrointestinal procedures, researchers identified 27 adverse events 30-month period. Nearly half (48%) of events caused major or catastrophic harm. The most frequently reported adverse events were attributable to human factors (22%), medication errors (22%) or retained items; retained items were associated with the most harm.
Resuscitations are highly complex interventions, particularly in neonatal settings. Ineffective teamwork, poor communication, and knowledge deficits in the neonatal team can result in adverse patient outcomes. Video is one approach to mitigating these issues by providing education, practice simulations, and skill assessment in order to improve patient care.
Guidelines play an important role in enhancing safety and reliability, but they must be rigorously evidence-based, followed, and applied. This commentary suggests that overconfidence in the guideline development process can result in reliance on recommendations that misinform practice and contribute to patient harm. As an example, the authors discuss the wide adoption of a guideline to address the cesarean delivery rate that omitted important clinical prognosticators.
Greer JA, Haischer-Rollo G, Delorey D, et al. Cureus. 2019;11:e4096.
This pre–post study examined the effect of team training on an emergency response team's performance in a perinatal emergency simulation. Following the training, performance in the simulation identified more latent safety threats and adherence to a safety checklist increased. The authors suggest that team training can enhance maternal safety.
Sherman JP, Hedli LC, Kristensen-Cabrera AI, et al. Am J Perinatol. 2020;37:638-646.
This direct observation study examined maternal and neonatal care at 10 labor and delivery units. Investigators uncovered three environmental needs that impact safety: rapid access to blood products, space for neonatal resuscitation, and organization and availability of equipment and supplies. They conclude that applying design thinking to physical space could improve maternal and neonatal safety.
Lefebvre G, Calder LA, De Gorter R, et al. J Obstet Gynaecol Can. 2019;41:653-659.
Obstetrics is a high-risk practice that concurrently manages the safety of mothers and newborns. This commentary describes the importance of standardization, checklist use, auditing and feedback, peer coaching, and interdisciplinary communication as strategies to reduce risks. The discussion spotlights the need for national guidelines and definitions to reduce variation in auditing and training activities and calls for heightened engagement of health care professionals to improve the safety and quality of obstetric care in Canada. An Annual Perspective reviewed work on improving maternal safety.
Ogunyemi D, Hage N, Kim SK, et al. Jt Comm J Qual Patient Saf. 2019;45:423-430.
The rise in maternal morbidity and mortality is one of the most pressing patient safety issues in the United States. Formal debriefing after adverse events is an important method for analyzing and improving safety. In this study, an academic hospital adopted a systems-based morbidity and mortality conference model to review cases of serious maternal harm and implemented several safety measures (including teamwork training) to address issues that were identified through structured review.
Maternal mortality is a sentinel event that affects mothers and families across a wide range of socioeconomic characteristics. This commentary explores how data collection gaps, medical errors, ineffective treatments, and care coordination weaknesses contribute to preventable maternal death. The author highlights efforts to improve safety in maternity care such as best practice bundles to ensure teams and clinicians are prepared for certain complications.
Rigid adherence to protocols may detract from safety when unexpected critical events occur that require deviation from the standard process. This commentary explores insights from a physician, both as a clinician and as a new mother, when health care staff failed to effectively consider patient concerns and knowledge in understanding and treating the cause of postlabor pain. The patient identified the cause and requested appropriate treatment, but nurses consulted protocols for pain after labor and only offered pain medications, which might have exacerbated the problem. The author calls for clinician autonomy to recognize when standardization is not appropriate and how to address individual patient needs.
Hatch D, Rivard M, Bolton J, et al. Jt Comm J Qual Patient Saf. 2019;45:295-303.
The authors describe how the use of statistical process control charts facilitated rapid identification of a cluster of unplanned extubations in a neonatal intensive care unit. They advocate for the use of continuous monitoring tools to help alert teams to possible safety events and improvement opportunities.
Kahwati LC, Sorensen A, Teixeira-Poit S, et al. Jt Comm J Qual Patient Saf. 2019;45:231-240.
Labor and delivery is an inherently high-risk care setting. The Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality adapted its Comprehensive Unit-based Safety Program, a best practice toolkit incorporating teamwork, human factors engineering principles, and simulation training, for labor and delivery. In this pre–post evaluation study, staff reported improved safety culture and teamwork. Obstetric trauma and primary cesarean delivery rates declined after the intervention, but neonatal birth trauma rates increased. The authors note that incomplete implementation and lack of sustained program participation observed in the study should be addressed in order to improve obstetric and neonatal care safety. A recent Annual Perspective emphasizes the rising rate of severe maternal morbidity and summarizes national initiatives to improve safety in maternity care.
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.
The Joint Commission and National Quality Forum both consider wrong-site, wrong-procedure, and wrong-patient surgeries to be never events. Despite improvement approaches ranging from the Universal Protocol to nonpayment for the procedures themselves and any consequent care, these serious surgical errors continue to occur. This study measured the incidence of incorrect surgeries in Veterans Health Administration medical centers from 2010 to 2017. Surgical patient safety events resulting in harm were rare and declined by more than two-thirds from 2000 to 2017. Dentistry, ophthalmology, and neurosurgery had the highest incidence of in–operating room adverse events. Root cause analysis revealed that 29% of events could have been prevented with a correctly performed time-out. A WebM&M commentary examined an incident involving a wrong-side surgery.
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