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Parker H, Frost J, Day J, et al. PLoS ONE. 2022;17:e0271454.
Prophylactic antimicrobials are frequently prescribed for surgical patients despite the risks of antimicrobial overuse (e.g., resistance). This review summarizes how and why antimicrobials continue to be prescribed in surgical settings despite evidence of overuse. Eight overarching concepts were identified: hierarchy; fear drives action; deprioritized; convention trumps evidence; complex judgments; discontinuity of care; team dynamics; and practice environment.
Weston M, Chiodo C. AORN J. 2022;115:569-575.
Unintentionally retained foreign objects can be exacerbated by fatigue, distractions, and communication errors. This article highlights the importance of effective teamwork, high reliability orientation, and standardized surgical count methods to minimize the persistent problem of retained surgical items.
MacLeod JB, D’Souza K, Aguiar C, et al. J Cardiothorac Surg. 2022;17:69.
Post-operative complications can lead to increased length of hospital stay, cost, and resource utilization. This retrospective study compared “fast track” patients (patients extubated and transferred from ICU to a step-down unit the same day as their procedure) and patients who were not fast tracked. Results showed fast track pathways led to a reduction in ICU and overall hospital length of stay and similar post-operative outcomes.

An 18-month-old girl presented to the Emergency Department (ED) after being attacked by a dog and sustaining multiple penetrating injuries to her head and neck. After multiple unsuccessful attempts to establish intravenous access, an intraosseous (IO) line was placed in the patient’s proximal left tibia to facilitate administration of fluids, blood products, vasopressors, and antibiotics.  In the operating room, peripheral intravenous (IV) access was eventually obtained after which intraoperative use of the IO line was restricted to a low-rate fluid infusion.

Fuchs A, Frick S, Huber M, et al. Anaesthesia. 2022;77:751-762.
Pre-procedure checklists have been shown to improve patient safety but they are still not utilized in all situations. Analysis of five years of airway management checklist use in operating room, non-operating room, and emergency procedures showed increasing adherence to checklist use, but completion varied by time of day, location, and urgency of procedure. Further research into causes for these variations is recommended.

A 69-year-old man with End-Stage Kidney Disease (ESKD) secondary to diabetes mellitus and hypertension, who had been on dialysis since 2014, underwent deceased donor kidney transplant. The case demonstrates the complex nature of management of allograft dysfunction due to vascular complications in a patient with deceased donor kidney transplant in the early post-transplant period.

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.

Hammond Mobilio M, Paradis E, Moulton C-A. Am J Surg. 2022;223:1105-1111.
Surgical safety checklists (SSC) have been adopted around the world, but reported compliance rates and use in practice vary widely. This study in one Canadian hospital showed the SSC was used in 82% of Briefings, 76% of Time-Outs, and 22% of Debriefings. Gaps between policy and practice were identified and implications for policy makers, administrators, frontline clinicians, and researchers are discussed.
Croke L. AORN J. 2021;114:4-6.
Retained surgical items (RSI) are a never event, yet they continue to happen. This commentary summarizes recent changes to an existing guidance that defines a range of retained devices or products to coalesce with industry terminology. The author shares steps to reduce the potential for RSI retention. 

A 52-year-old woman presented for a lumpectomy with lymphoscintigraphy and sentinel lymph node biopsy (SLNB) after being diagnosed with ductal carcinoma in situ (DICS). On the day of surgery, the patient was met in the pre-operative unit by several different providers (pre-operative nurse, resident physician, attending physician, and anethesiology team) to help prepare her for the procedure. In the OR, the surgical team performed two separate time-outs while the patient was being prepped, placed under general anesthesia, and draped.

Fan B, Pardo J, Yu-Moe CW, et al. Ann Surg Oncol. 2021;28:8109-8115.
While prior research has described malpractice cases related to breast cancer diagnosis and treatment, this study sought to identify errors specifically related to breast cancer surgical procedures. Plastic surgeons were the most commonly named provider type (64%), error in surgical treatment was the most common allegation (87%), and infection, cosmetic injury, emotional trauma, foreign body, and nosocomial infection were the top 5 injury descriptions.

A 78-year-old woman with macular degeneration presented for a pars plana vitrectomy (PPV) under monitored anesthesia care (MAC) with an eye block. At this particular hospital, eye cases under MAC are typically performed with an eye block by the surgeon after the anesthesiologist has administered some short-acting sedation, commonly with remifentanil. On this day, there was a shortage of premixed remifentanil and the resident – who was unfamiliar with the process of drug dilution – incorrectly diluted the remifentanil solution.

US Food and Drug Administration. October 7, 2021.
Errors of commission during complex procedures can contribute to patient harm. Drawing from an analysis of medical device reports submitted to the Food and Drug Administration, this updated announcement seeks to raise awareness of common adverse events associated with surgical staplers and implantable staples. User-related problems include opening of the staple line, misapplied staples, and staple gun difficulties. Recommendations include ensuring availability of various staple sizes and avoiding use of staples on large blood vessels.
Ranum D, Beverly A, Shapiro FE, et al. J Patient Saf. 2021;17:513-521.
This analysis of medical malpractice claims identified four leading causes of anesthesia-related claims involving ambulatory surgery centers – dental injuries, pain, nerve damage, and death. The authors discuss the role of preoperative risk assessment, use of routine dental and airway assessment, adequate treatment of perioperative pain, and improving communication between patients and providers.

This piece discusses an expanded view of maternal and infant safety that includes the concept of whole-person care, which addresses the structural and social determinants of maternal health.

Alison Stuebe, MD, MSc, is a professor and Division Director for Maternal-Fetal Medicine in the Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology at the University of North Carolina (UNC) at Chapel Hill and the co-director of the Collaborative for Maternal and Infant Health. Kristin Tully, PhD, is a research assistant professor in the Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology at UNC Chapel Hill and a member of the Collaborative for Maternal and Infant Health.

Combs CA, Einerson BD, Toner LE. Am J Obstet Gynecol. 2021;225:b43-b49.
Maternal and newborn safety is challenged during cesarean delivery due to the complexities of the practice. This guideline recommends specific checklist elements to direct coordination and communication between the two teams engaged in cesarean deliveries. The guideline provides a sample checklist and steps for its implementation.
Nasca BJ, Bilimoria KY, Yang AD. Jt Comm J Qual Patient Saf. 2021;47:604-607.
Surgical safety has made advances while new difficulties continuously emerge. This article suggests that the specialties capitalize on artificial intelligence and professional wellness as two avenues to generate sustainable safety progress.