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Baker M. Seattle Times. February 10, 2017.
Reporting on an incident involving a patient who died after a surgery, this news article discusses potential contributing factors in the incident such as concurrent surgeries and failure to consider patient and family concerns. A past WebM&M commentary highlighted the importance of listening to families when they advocate for patients in the hospital.
Whitman E. Mod Healthc. September 25, 2016.
Misidentification of patients can result in problems such as medication administration delays, blood transfusion mismatches, and wrong-patient surgery. This magazine article reviews recent research on this issue and suggests several system approaches for improvement, including the use of patient photos in electronic health records and standardizing patient identification processes.
Sun LH. The Washington Post. October 13, 2016.
Medical devices can contribute to the spread of health care–associated infections. This news article discusses a government report that raises concerns that patients may have been exposed to a deadly bacterial infection related to an essential piece of equipment used in cardiac surgery worldwide. The resulting infection can be difficult to diagnosis as symptoms may remain dormant for months after the initial exposure.
Mukherjee S. New York Times Magazine. May 9, 2018.
Checklists can coordinate action and communication to augment safety, but human and system factors may hinder their effectiveness. This magazine article reports on how the checklist phenomenon evolved into a global patient safety effort and spotlights the impact of human behavior on reliable implementation of checklist programs in different care environments.
Span P. New York Times. February 1, 2019.
Cognitive and functional decline can occur as individuals age. Concerns have been raised regarding the need to assess skills of aging physicians. This newspaper article reports on the implementation of mandatory evaluation programs to assess competencies of older surgeons and the profession's response to them.
Biel L. ProPublica. October 2, 2018.
This news article reports on systemic weaknesses that enabled a surgeon with poor skills to continue to perform procedures after numerous surgical errors that resulted in patient harm. A past PSNet perspective explored the risk of recurring medicolegal events among providers who have received unsolicited patient complaints, faced disciplinary actions by medical boards, or accumulated malpractice claims.
FDA Safety Communication: caution when using robotically-assisted surgical devices in women's health including mastectomy and other cancer-related surgeries.
MedWatch Safety Alert. Silver Spring, MD: US Food and Drug Administration; February 28, 2019.
This announcement seeks to raise awareness of the potential risks associated with the use of robotic-assisted surgical devices in mastectomies or cancer-related care. Recommendations for patients who may seek to have robotically assisted surgery include asking about their surgeon's experience with these procedures and discussing benefits, risks, and alternatives regarding available treatment options with their health care provider. Suggestions for health care providers include completing specialized training on procedures they perform. A WebM&M commentary described the challenges and benefits associated with robotic surgery.
US Food and Drug Administration. March 8, 2019.
Errors of commission during complex procedures can contribute to patient harm. Drawing from an analysis of medical device reports submitted to the Food and Drug Administration, this announcement seeks to raise awareness of common adverse events associated with surgical staplers and implantable staples. User-related problems include opening of the staple line, misapplied staples, and staple gun difficulties. Recommendations include ensuring availability of various staple sizes and avoiding use of staples on large blood vessels.
Appleby J, Lucas E. Kaiser Health News. June 21, 2019.