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Tan J, Krishnan S, Vacanti JC, et al. J Healthc Risk Manag. 2022;Epub Apr 1.
Inpatient falls are a common patient safety event and can have serious consequences. This study used hospital safety reporting system data to characterize falls in perioperative settings. Falls represented 1% of all safety reports between 2014 and 2020 and most commonly involved falls from a bed or stretcher. The author suggests strategies to identify patients at high risk for falls, improve fall-related training for healthcare personnel, and optimize equipment design in perioperative areas to prevent falls.
Mariyaselvam MZA, Patel V, Young HE, et al. J Patient Saf. 2022;18:e387-e392.
A retained foreign object can lead to serious clinical consequences and is considered a never event. Researchers analyzed a national patient safety incident database to identify factors contributing to guidewire retention and potential preventative measures. Findings indicate that most retained guidewires are identified after the procedure. The authors suggest that system changes or design modifications to central venous catheter equipment is one approach to prevent guidewire attention.
Fuchs A, Frick S, Huber M, et al. Anaesthesia. 2022;Epub Mar 18.
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.
Dorken Gallastegi A, Mikdad S, Kapoen C, et al. J Surg Res. 2022;274:185-195.
While interoperative deaths (IODs) are rare, they are catastrophic events. This study analyzed five years of data on IODs from a large academic medical center. The authors describe three phenotypes: patients with traumatic injury, those undergoing non-trauma-related emergency surgery, and patients who die during an elective procedure from medical cardiac arrests or vascular injuries. This classification framework can serve as a foundation for future research or quality improvement processes.

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.

Ehrenwerth J. UptoDate. November 5, 2021.

Operating room fires are never events that, while rare, still harbor great potential for harm. This review discusses settings prone to surgical fire events, prevention strategies, and care management steps should patients be harmed by an operating room fire.

Croke L. Guideline for prevention of unintentionally retained surgical items. AORN J. 2021;114(6):4-6. doi: 

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 related webinar will be held February 2, 2022.
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.
Adams-McGavin RC, Jung JJ, van Dalen ASHM, et al. Ann Surg. 2021;274:114-119.
Resilience is the process of identifying and overcoming unexpected adverse events. By reviewing video, audio, and patient physiologic data recorded during 24 laparoscopic surgeries, researchers were able to identify safety threats and resilience supports used to overcome them. Of the six category codes, (person, task, tools and technology, physical environment, organization, and external environment) most safety threats and supports were in the person category.

A seven-year-old girl with esophageal stenosis underwent upper endoscopy with esophageal dilation under general anesthesia. During the procedure, she was fully monitored with a continuous arterial oxygen saturation probe, heart rate monitors, two-lead electrocardiography, continuous capnography, and non-invasive arterial blood pressure measurements.

Schnock KO, Biggs B, Fladger A, et al. J Patient Saf. 2021;17:e462-e468.
Hospitals have implemented radiofrequency identification (RFID) technology to improve patient safety. This systematic review of 5 studies suggests that use of RFID can lead to rapid, accurate detection of retained surgical instruments (RSIs) and reduced risk of counting errors.
Bubric KA, Biesbroek SL, Laberge JC, et al. Jt Comm J Qual Patient Saf. 2021;47:556-562.
Unintentionally retained foreign objects (RFO) following surgery is a never event. In this study, researchers observed 36 surgical procedures to quantify and describe interruptions and distractions present during surgical counting. Interruptions (e.g., the surgeon or another nurse talking to the scrub nurse) and distractions (e.g., music, background noise) were common. Several suggestions to minimize interruptions and distractions during surgical counts are made.
Abraham J, Pfeifer E, Doering M, et al. Anesth Analg. 2021;132:1563-1575.
Intraoperative handoffs between anesthesiologists are frequently necessary but are not without risk. This systematic review of 14 studies of intraoperative handoffs and handoff tools found that use of handoff tools has a positive impact on patient safety. Additional research is needed around design and implementation of tools, particularly the use of electronic health records to record handoffs.  
Weprin SA, Meyer D, Li R, et al. Patient Saf Surg. 2021;15:14.
A retained surgical sharp (RSS) is a never event. Operating room (OR) team members, including surgeons, anesthesiologists, and nurses, were surveyed regarding their experiences with actual and near-miss sharps (NMS). While nearly all team members reported experiencing at least one RSS or NMS in the past year, responses to other survey items varied by professional group. Surgeons were less likely to perceive that a sharp had been lost as compared to other OR team members, indicating a potential under-report bias. Improved communication between team members may increase identification, and therefore reporting, of RSS and NMS, to prevent similar incidents in the future.

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.

Otolaryngol Head Neck Surg. 2018-2022.

Otolaryngology-head and neck surgery is vulnerable to wrong site errors and other challenges present in surgical care. This series of articles highlights key areas of importance for the specialty as they work to enhance patient safety. The 2022 installment covers the role of simulation.

Farnborough, UK: Healthcare Safety Investigation Branch; April 22, 2021.

Wrong-site surgery in dentistry is a frequent and persistent never event. This report examines a case of pediatric wrong tooth extraction to reveal how the application of safety standards is influenced by the work environment and discusses the use of forcing functions to create barriers to error in practice.
Copeland AW. UpToDate. May 25, 2021.
Retained surgical items are rare and potentially catastrophic incidents that continue to occur in surgical care, despite being classified as a sentinel event. This review discusses factors contributing to these never events and prevention strategies, such as standardized count protocols and tracking devices.
Olivarius‐McAllister J, Pandit M, Sykes A, et al. Anaesthesia. 2021;76:1616-1624.
UK Regulators measure never events to assess hospital safety culture and dictate reimbursement. The authors suggest that regulators focus on reducing the national never event rate through shared learning and an integrated system-wide approach, rather than concentrating on underperforming, outlier hospitals where factors such as safety culture maybe contributing to increased rates of never events.