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F. Daniel Duffy, MD; Christine K. Cassel, MD; October 2007
Following surgery, a woman on a patient-controlled analgesia pump is found to be lethargic and incoherent, with a low respiratory rate. The nurse contacted the attending physician, who dismisses the patient's symptoms and chastises the nurse for the late call.
Perspectives on Safety > Perspective
with commentary by David P. Sklar, MD; Cameron Crandall, MD, Patient Safety in Emergency Medicine, June 2010
Emergency medicine has evolved from a location, with variably trained and experienced providers ("the ER"), to a discipline with a well-defined knowledge base and skill set that focus on the diagnosis and care of undifferentiated acute problems.(1) The importance of rapid diagnosis and treatment of serious conditions (e.g., myocardial infarction, stroke, trauma, and sepsis) has made timeliness not simply a determinant of patient satisfaction but also a significant safety and quality concern—delays in care can be deadly.(2) Emergency physicians (EPs) have identified delays caused by crowding from boarding of admitted patients as their most significant safety problem.(3) We present a model for understanding emergency department (ED) patient safety and identify solutions by deconstructing care into three realms: individual provider, patient, and environmental system (Table).