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Journal Article > Commentary
Smetzer J, Baker C, Byrne FD, Cohen MR. Jt Comm J Qual Patient Saf. 2010;36:152-163, 1AP-2AP.
This article discusses how a hospital responded to a fatal medication error that occurred when a nurse mistakenly administered epidural pain medication intravenously to a pregnant teenager. Findings from the root cause analysis of the error revealed underlying factors including fatigue (the nurse had worked a double shift the day before), failed safety systems (the hospital had recently implemented a bar coding system, but not all nurses were trained and workarounds were routine), and human factors engineering (bags containing antibiotics and pain medications were similar in appearance and could be accessed with the same type of catheter). A range of safety interventions were implemented as a result. However, the related editorials by leaders in the safety field (Drs. Sidney Dekker, Charles Denham, and Lucian Leape) take the hospital to task for focusing on narrow improvements rather than using complexity theory to solve underlying problems, and for creating a "second victim" by disciplining the nurse (who was fired and ultimately criminally prosecuted) rather than acknowledging the institution's responsibility and the caregiver's emotional distress. The article and commentaries provide a fascinating, in-depth look at the true impact of a never event.
Journal Article > Study
Adelman J, Aschner J, Schechter C, et al. Pediatrics. 2015;136:327-333.
Wrong-patient errors are considered to be never events. Newborns are assigned temporary names if they don't have a name immediately after birth, and this may increase the rates of wrong-patient errors. The need for first and last names in electronic health records has led to a generic first name convention of "Babygirl" or "Babyboy," which is in use in more than 80% of neonatal intensive care units in the United States. This pre-post study found that implementing specific first names that incorporated the mother's name reduced the incidence of wrong-patient errors by 36% compared to the generic naming. These errors are rare even at baseline, but given the ease of changing the naming convention, this is a pragmatic approach to improving the safety of computerized provider order entry for hospitalized newborns.