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Cases & Commentaries
- Web M&M
Yi Lu, MD, PhD, and Douglas Salvador, MD, MPH; August 2019
A woman with a history of prior spine surgery presented to the emergency department with progressive low back pain. An MRI scan of T11–S1 showed lumbar degenerative joint disease and a small L5–S1 disc herniation. She was referred for physical therapy and prescribed muscle relaxant, non-steroidal anti-inflammatories, and pain relievers. Ten days later, she presented to a community hospital with fever, inability to walk, and numbness from the waist down. Her white blood cell count was greater than 30,000 and she was found to be in acute renal and liver failure. She was transferred to a neurosurgery service at an academic hospital when an MRI revealed a T6–T10 thoracic epidural abscess.
Journal Article > Study
Patient identification error among prostate needle core biopsy specimens—are we ready for a DNA time-out?
Suba EJ, Pfeifer JD, Raab SS. J Urol. 2007;178:1245-1248.
This study summarizes the findings from three root cause analyses to highlight the challenges in preventing patient identification errors in surgical pathology specimens. The authors suggest the use of a time-out strategy that would reduce the risk of the wrong patient receiving radiation or surgical therapy.
Journal Article > Study
Assessment of incorrect surgical procedures within and outside the operating room. A follow-up study from US Veterans Health Administration medical centers.
Neily J, Soncrant C, Mills PD, et al. JAMA Network Open. 2018;1:e185147.
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.