Transfusion errors can have serious consequences. This retrospective analysis used a Canadian national database to characterize patient registration-related errors in the blood transfusion process. Findings indicate that registration errors most commonly occur in outpatient areas and emergency departments and can lead to delays in transfusion.
Shaikh U, Natale JAE, Till DA, et al. Pediatr Emerg Care. 2022;38:e283-e286.
Incident reporting systems may be underutilized by medical trainees. This article describes a brief, interactive simulation activity to improve identification and reporting of patient safety hazards among medical students and interns.
Kulju S, Morrish W, King LA, et al. J Patient Saf. 2022;18:e290-e296.
Patient misidentification can lead to serious patient safety risks. Researchers used patient safety reports and root cause analyses (RCA) to characterize patient misidentification events in the Veterans Health Administration (VHA). The incidence of patient misidentification in inpatient and outpatient settings was similar and most commonly attributed to the absence of two unique patient identifiers. The authors identified three strategies to mitigate misidentification based on high-reliability principles: (1) develop policies for patient identification throughout the continuum of care, (2) develop policies to report and monitor patient misidentification measures, and (3) apply quality and process improvement tools to patient identification emphasizing use by front line staff.
Two patients arrived at the Emergency Department (ED) at the same time with major trauma. Both patients were unidentified and were given "Doe" names. Patient 1 was quickly sent to the operating room (OR) but the ED nurse incorrectly gave him Patient 2's "Doe" name. The OR nurse only realized there was a problem when blood arrived with Patient 1's correct "Doe" name, requiring multiple phone calls with the ED, laboratory, and surgeon to correctly identify the patient.
The Joint Commission and National Quality Forum both consider wrong-site, wrong-procedure, and wrong-patient surgeries to be never events. Despite improvement approaches ranging from the Universal Protocol to nonpayment for the procedures themselves and any consequent care, these serious surgical errors continue to occur. This study measured the incidence of incorrect surgeries in Veterans Health Administration medical centers from 2010 to 2017. Surgical patient safety events resulting in harm were rare and declined by more than two-thirds from 2000 to 2017. Dentistry, ophthalmology, and neurosurgery had the highest incidence of in–operating room adverse events. Root cause analysis revealed that 29% of events could have been prevented with a correctly performed time-out. A WebM&M commentary examined an incident involving a wrong-side surgery.
Sadigh G, Loehfelm T, Applegate KE, et al. AJR Am J Roentgenol. 2015;205:337-43.
Despite The Joint Commission requirement to use at least two patient identifiers when obtaining an imaging study, wrong-patient events still occur. This retrospective case review study determined the prevalence of reported near-miss wrong-patient events in radiology at two large academic hospitals. The overall event rate was 4 per 100,000 radiology studies.
A hospitalized patient with advanced dementia was to undergo a brain MRI as part of a diagnostic workup for altered mental status. Hospital policy dictated that signout documentation include only patients' initials rather than more identifiable information such as full name or birth date. In this case, the patient requiring the brain MRI had the same initials as another patient on the same unit with severe cognitive impairment from a traumatic brain injury. The cross-covering resident mixed up the two patients and placed the MRI order in the wrong chart.
Phipps E, Turkel M, Mackenzie ER, et al. Jt Comm J Qual Patient Saf. 2012;38:127-34.
Although ensuring the correct patient receives the appropriate treatment may seem a straightforward task, patient misidentification has resulted in highly publicized errors. The Joint Commission has required standardized processes for avoiding patient misidentification as one of the National Patient Safety Goals. This qualitative study of nurses and residents identified barriers to following appropriate identification practices and characterizes workarounds that providers use to circumvent these perceived barriers. A near miss caused by a patient identification error is discussed in detail in this AHRQ WebM&M commentary.
Admitted to the hospital with community-acquired pneumonia, an elderly man nearly receives dangerous potassium supplementation due to a “critical panic value” call for a low potassium in another patient.
Neily J, Mills PD, Eldridge N, et al. Arch Surg. 2009;144:1028-34.
Wrong-patient and wrong-site surgeries are considered never events, as they are devastating errors that arise from serious underlying safety problems. This study used Veterans Administration data to analyze the broader concept of "incorrect" surgical procedures, including near misses and errors in procedures performed outside the operating room (for example, in interventional radiology). Root cause analysis was used to identify underlying safety problems. Errors occurred in virtually all specialties that perform procedures. The authors found that many cases could be attributed in part to poor communication that may not have been addressed by preoperative time-outs; for example, several cases in which surgical implants were unavailable would have required communication well before the day of surgery. The authors argue for teamwork training based on crew resource management principles to address these serious errors.
This monthly selection includes reports of a near miss when using a medication-reconciliation form as an order sheet, epidural tubing mistakenly utilized for an intravenous medication, a topical medication given orally, and problems with monitoring temperatures of medication refrigerators.
Hakimzada AF, Green RA, Sayan OR, et al. Int J Med Inform. 2007;77.
This study describes several instances of near misses that occurred due to patient misidentification, such as physicians being unable to access previous test results because—unknown to them—the patient had been assigned a second medical record number. The investigators used human factors analysis to identify the underlying systems issues that contributed to these errors. Previous studies in adult and pediatric inpatients have also identified patient misidentification as a potential contributor to a large number of errors.
Please select your preferred way to submit a case. Note that even if you have an account, you can still choose to submit a case as a guest. And if you do choose to submit as a logged-in user, your name will not be publicly associated with the case. Learn more information here.