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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.

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.
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.
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.
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.
Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services.
The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) provides consumers with publicly available information on the quality of Medicare-certified hospital care through this Web site. The site includes specific information for both patients and hospitals on how to use the data to guide decision-making and improvement initiatives. Most recently, listings from the Hospital-Acquired Condition Reduction Program (HACRP) and data on Department of Veterans Affairs hospitals were added to the reports available.

Two separate patients undergoing urogynecologic procedures were discharged from the hospital with vaginal packing unintentionally left in the vagina. Both cases are representative of the challenges of identifying and preventing retained orifice packing, the critical role of clear handoff communication, and the need for organizational cultures which encourage health care providers to communicate and collaborate with each other to optimize patient safety.

Omar I, Graham Y, Singhal R, et al. World J Surg. 2021;45:697-704.
Never events can result in serious patient harm and indicate serious underlying organizational safety problems. This study analyzed never events occurring between 2012 and 2020 in the National Health Services and categorized 51 common never events into four categories – wrong site surgery (40% of events); retained foreign objects post-procedure (28%); wrong implant/prosthesis (13%); and non-surgical/infrequent never events (19%). Awareness of these themes may support focused efforts to reduce their incidence and development of specific local safety standards. 
Omar I, Singhal R, Wilson M, et al. Int J Qual Health Care. 2021;33:mzab045.
Never events, a significant type of adverse event, should never occur in healthcare. This study analyzed 797 surgical never events that occurred from April 2012 to February 2020 in the National Health Service (NHS) England and categorized them into three main categories: wrong-site surgery (53.58%), retained items post-procedure (44.54%), and wrong implant/prosthesis (1.88%). In total 56 common general surgery never events have been found. Being aware of the common themes may help providers to develop more effective strategies to prevent these adverse events.
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.
Gunnar W, Soncrant C, Lynn MM, et al. J Patient Saf. 2020;16:255-258.
Retained surgical items (RSI) are considered ‘never events’ but continue to occur. In this study, researchers compared the RSI rate in Veterans Health (VA) surgery programs with (n=46) and without (n=91) surgical count technology and analyzed the resulting root cause analyses (RCA) for these events. The RSI rate was significantly higher in for the programs with surgical count technology compared to the programs without (1/18,221 vs. 1/30,593). Analysis of RCAs found the majority of incidents (64%) involved human factors issues (e.g., staffing changes during shifts, staff fatigue), policy/procedure failures (e.g., failure to perform methodical wound sweep) or communication errors.
Anderson JE, Watt AJ. Int J Qual Health Care. 2020;16.
Using a Safety-II framework, the authors used a mixed-methods approach to retrospectively analyze root cause analysis (RCA) reports of ‘never events’ occurring in the United Kingdom to characterize proposed actions, insights and recommendations to prevent future events. The analysis found that proposed actions were generally of low-to-moderate effectiveness, and that despite identifying systems challenges and weaknesses, many reports did not include proposed actions to mitigate or remove risks. The authors conclude that applying concepts from resilient healthcare can identify vulnerabilities and opportunities for strengthening the RCA system and improving the quality of RCA reports.
Soncrant C, Mills PD, Neily J, et al. J Patient Saf. 2020;16:41-46.
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.
Farnborough, UK; Healthcare Safety Investigation Branch; December 18, 2019.
Maternal care during and after childbirth is at risk for never events including retained foreign objects. This analysis of a sentinel event involving a retained surgical tampon after childbirth discusses communication, fatigue, and process factors that contributed to the incident. The report suggests improved handoffs as one improvement strategy.
Steelman VM, Shaw C, Shine L, et al. Jt Comm J Qual Patient Saf. 2019;45:249-258.
An unintentionally retained foreign object during a surgery or a procedure is considered a never event and can result in significant patient harm. Researchers retrospectively reviewed 308 events involving unintentionally retained foreign objects that were reported to The Joint Commission to better characterize these events, determine the impact on the patient, identify contributing factors, and make recommendations for improving safety.
Kutaimy R, Zhang L, Blok D, et al. BMC Med Educ. 2018;18:215.
Incorporating patient safety content into the demanding schedule of medical school education is challenging. This commentary describes the design and implementation of an embedded patient safety and quality improvement learning opportunity. The approach used a retained surgical sponge simulation during an anatomy course to illustrate how errors can occur, affect the patient, and be prevented. A PSNet perspective explored the value of simulation as an educational technique.
Duggan EG, Fernandez J, Saulan MM, et al. Jt Comm J Qual Patient Saf. 2018;44:260-269.
Retained foreign objects are a persistent never event. This commentary describes how one organization reduced the occurrence of this surgical complication. Needs assessments, multidisciplinary engagement, risk classification, and modeling approaches were employed to inform the initiative. These activities helped to design training efforts to enhance awareness of the problem.