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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.

ECRI. Plymouth Meeting, PA. March 2022.

The global COVID-19 pandemic has exacerbated patient safety concerns. ECRI presents the top ten patient concerns for 2022, including staffing challenges, human factors in telehealth, and supply chain disruptions.

National Alert Network. Horsham, PA: Institute for Safe Medication Practices; Bethesda, MD: American Society of Health-System Pharmacists. December 6, 2021. 

Vaccine missteps are known to occur during flu and COVID-19 inoculation efforts. This announcement raises awareness of misadministration of COVID vaccines associated with patient age. It highlights storage protocols as one approach to minimize mistakes. This alert is part of a national program to distribute learnings from report analysis to improve medication safety.
Sentinel Event Alert. 2010:1-3.
Revised June 2021. The Joint Commission issues sentinel event alerts to highlight areas of high risk and to promote rapid adoption of risk reduction strategies. This newly released alert focuses on violence in the health care setting, noting increasing rates of violent crimes such as assault, rape, and homicide, which are consistently among the top 10 types of sentinel events reported. Controlling access is viewed as a key protection strategy, and the alert also outlines techniques for identifying violent individuals and for training staff in violence management. The alert summarizes a series of suggested actions that will allow organizations to safeguard against these events. Adherence to sentinel event alert recommendations is assessed as part of Joint Commission accreditation surveys.
Rogith D, Satterly T, Singh H, et al. Appl Clin Inform. 2020;11:692-698.
Lack of timely follow-up of test results is a recognized patient safety problem in primary care and can lead to missed or delayed diagnoses. This study used human factors methods to understand lack of timely follow-up of abnormal test results in outpatient settings. Through interviews with the ordering physicians, the researchers identified several contributing factors, such as provider-patient communication channel mismatch and diffusion of responsibility.
Myers LC, Heard L, Mort E. Am J Crit Care. 2020;29:174-181.
This study reviewed medical malpractice claims data between 2007 and 2016 to describe the types of patient safety events involving critical care nurses. Decubitus ulcers were the most common diagnosis in claims involving ICU nurses and compared to nurses in emergency departments and operating rooms, ICU nurses were likely to have a malpractice claim alleging failure to monitor.
Rainbow JG, Drake DA, Steege LM. West J Nurs Res. 2020;42:332-339.
This study explored the relationships between nurse fatigue, burnout, psychological well-being, team vitality, and patient safety, and the role of presenteeism as a potential mediator. Authors found strong relationships between workplace influences and job-stress presenteeism, and between job-stress presenteeism and patient safety outcomes, including lower rates of event reporting and perceptions of patient safety.
A 55-year old woman became unarousable with low oxygen saturation as a result of multiple intravenous benzodiazepine doses given overnight. The benzodiazepine was ordered following a seizure in the intensive care unit (ICU) and was not revised or discontinued upon transfer to the floor; several doses were given for different indications - anxiety and insomnia.
Chen Y-F, Armoiry X, Higenbottam C, et al. BMJ Open. 2019;9:e025764.
Patients admitted to the hospital on the weekend have been shown to experience worse outcomes compared to those admitted on weekdays. This weekend effect has been observed numerous times across multiple health care settings. However, whether patient characteristics (patients admitted on the weekend may be more severely ill) or system factors (less staffing and certain services may not be available on the weekend) are primarily responsible remains debated. In this systematic review and meta-analysis including 68 studies, researchers found a pooled odds ratio for weekend mortality of 1.16. Moreover, the weekend effect in these studies was more pronounced for elective rather than unplanned admissions. They conclude that the evidence suggesting that the weekend effect reflects worse quality of care is of low quality. A past PSNet perspective discussed the significance of the weekend effect with regard to cardiology.
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.
Joseph A, Khoshkenar A, Taaffe KM, et al. BMJ Qual Saf. 2019;28:276-283.
This direct observation study found that minor disruptions in usual workflow can combine to lead to an adverse event. More than half of the observed disruptions were related to the physical layout of the operating room, suggesting that physical design of operating rooms may affect surgical safety.
Keers RN, Plácido M, Bennett K, et al. PLoS One. 2018;13:e0206233.
This interview study used a human factors method, the critical incident technique, to identify underlying factors in medication administration errors in a mental health inpatient facility. The team identified multiple interconnected vulnerabilities, including inadequate staffing, interruptions, and communication challenges. The findings underscore the persistence of widely documented medication safety administration concerns.
A woman developed sudden nausea and abdominal distension after undergoing inferior mesenteric artery stenting. The overnight intern forgot to follow up on her abdominal radiograph, which resulted in a critical delay in diagnosing acute mesenteric artery dissection and bowel infarction.
Hamilton-Fairley D, Coakley J, Moss F. BMC Med Edu. 2014;14:S17.
Reduced hospital staffing at night and on weekends can increase risks. This case study from the United Kingdom describes organizational changes to enhance nighttime care in in two separate hospital settings. The strategies included engaging a nurse practitioner to lead each team, standardizing care escalation and handoff practices, employing specialty teams until 9 PM, and streamlining care teams. These human factors engineering approaches resulted in high provider satisfaction, cost savings, and a reduction in adverse events.

Neville K, Galinkin JL, Green TP, et al; Committee on Drugs of the American Academy of Pediatrics. Pediatrics. 2015;135(4):784-787.

Accidental overdoses can occur when oral medications are given to children using teaspoons as measurement devices. This policy statement recommends use of milliliter-based dosing devices to enable metric-based administration of liquid medications to pediatric patients.