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A 65-year-old female with a documented allergy to latex underwent surgery for right-sided Zenker’s diverticulum. Near the conclusion of surgery, a latex Penrose drain was placed in the neck surgical incision. The patient developed generalized urticaria, bronchospasm requiring high airway pressures to achieve adequate ventilation, and hypotension within 5 minutes of placement of the drain. The drain was removed and replaced with a silicone drain. Epinephrine and vasopressors were administered post-operatively and the patient’s symptoms resolved.

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.
Nanji K. UpToDate. June 23, 2022.
Perioperative adverse drug events are common and understudied. This review examines factors that contribute to adverse drug events in the surgical setting and discusses prevention strategies that focus on medication reconciliation, technology, standardization, and institutional change.

Andreou A. Scientific AmericanMay 26, 2022.

Negative comments and attitudes indicate a lack of professionalism that can affect patient care. This article shares concerns about surgeon biases toward patients who are overweight and calls for clinicians to recognize the problem and address it.
Pennsylvania Patient Safety Authority. Harrisburg, PA: Patient Safety Authority; April 2022.
This report summarizes patient safety improvement work in the state of Pennsylvania and reviews the 2021 activities of the Patient Safety Authority, including the Agency's response to the COVID-19 pandemic, video programs, liaison efforts, publication programs, and the launch of a new learning management system.

A psychologically safe environment for healthcare teams is desirable for optimal team performance, team member well-being, and favorable patient safety outcomes. This piece explores facilitators of and barriers to psychological safety across healthcare settings. Future research directions examining psychological safety in healthcare are discussed.

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.

De Cassai A, Negro S, Geraldini F, et al. PLoS One. 2021;16: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.

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.

Ellis R, Hardie JA, Summerton DJ, et al. Surg. 2021;59:752-756.
Many non-urgent, non-cancer surgeries were postponed or canceled during COVID-19 surges resulting in a potential loss of surgeons’ “currency”. This commentary discusses the benefits of, and barriers to, dual surgeon operating as a way to increase currency as elective surgeries are resumed.
Sidi A, Gravenstein N, Vasilopoulos T, et al. J Patient Saf. 2021;17:e490-e496.
Nontechnical skills, such as teamwork and communication, can influence performance in technical fields like surgery or emergency medicine. This study found that simulation-based assessments can measure improvements in nontechnical skills and cognitive performance among residents.

A 61-year-old male was admitted for a right total knee replacement under regional anesthesia. The surgeon – unaware that the anesthesiologist had already performed a right femoral nerve block with 20 ml (100mg) of 0.5% racemic bupivacaine for postoperative analgesia – also infiltrated the arthroplasty wound with 200 mg of ropivacaine. The patient was sedated with an infusion of propofol throughout the procedure.

A 34-year-old morbidly obese man was placed under general anesthesia to treat a pilonidal abscess. Upon initial evaluation by an anesthesiologist, he was found to have a short thick neck, suggesting that endotracheal intubation might be difficult. A fellow anesthetist suggested use of video-laryngoscopy equipment, but the attending anesthesiologist rejected the suggestion. A first-year resident attempted to intubate the patient but failed.

Farnborough, UK: Healthcare Safety Investigation Branch; June 3, 2021.

Wrong site/wrong patent surgery is a persistent healthcare never event. This report examines National Health Service (NHS) reporting data to identify how ambulatory patient identification errors contribute to wrong patient care. The authors recommend that the NHS use human factors methods to design control processes to target and manage the risks in the outpatient environment such as lack of technology integration, shared waiting area space, and reliance on verbal communication at clinic.

A 56-year-old female received a digital tourniquet around the base of her left big toe during an ablation and excision of a deformed in-grown toenail.

Hibbert PD, Thomas MJW, Deakin A, et al. Int J Qual Health Care. 2020;32:184-189.
Based on 31 root cause analysis reports of surgical incidents in Australia, this study found that the most commonly retained surgical items were surgical packs (n=9) and drain tubes (n=8). While most retained items were detected on the day of the procedure (n=7), about 16% of items were detected 6-months or later post-procedure. The study found that complex or lengthy procedures were more likely to lead to a retained item, and many retained items, such as drains or catheters, occur in postoperative settings where surgical counts are not applicable.
Hart WM, Doerr P, Qian Y, et al. AMA J Ethics. 2020;22:E298-E304.
Communication has become a foci of improvement efforts across the spectrum of patient safety. This article discusses a surgical complication incident that illustrates the importance of transparency, disclosure and collaboration as elements of a successful approach to communication that can successfully manage the impact of an adverse incident.
Loftus TJ, Tighe PJ, Filiberto AC, et al. JAMA Surg. 2019;155:148-158.
Artificial intelligence (AI) can inform decision making and reduce diagnostic uncertainty. These authors discuss challenges in surgical decision-making– such as complexity, time constraints and uncertainty – and how AI can be leveraged using the EHR and mobile devices to overcome these challenges and augment surgical decision-making.