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Journal Article > Commentary
Sachs BP. JAMA. 2005;294:833-840.
Part of a series in JAMA entitled Clinical Crossroads, this case study discusses the unfortunate events surrounding a 38-year-old woman's presentation to a labor and delivery unit. The case details a seemingly routine full-term pregnancy that rapidly evolved into a course of complications, ultimately leading to a fetal death, a hysterectomy, and a prolonged hospital course. The discussion shares the experience through the eyes of the patient, her husband, and the primary obstetrician. Further exploration of the case identified several specific factors and broader systems issues that contributed to the events. The author shares how this particular institution responded with overarching changes, including a greater emphasis on teamwork, communication, and appropriate staffing of labor and delivery units to promote safety.
Gawande A. New York, NY: Metropolitan Books; 2009. ISBN: 9780805091748.
Harvard surgeon Atul Gawande has emerged as this generation's preeminent physician–author, through his articles in The New Yorker on topics ranging from quality improvement to the costs of health care, and his books, Complications and Better. In his new book, The Checklist Manifesto: How to Get Things Right, Dr. Gawande elegantly describes the history of the checklist as a quality and safety tool, in fields ranging from flying airplanes to building skyscrapers. In health care, he focuses on the Michigan Keystone Project, in which the use of checklists led to a remarkable decrease in the rate of central line–associated bloodstream infections, and on his own work with the World Health Organization's Safe Surgery Saves Lives program, where checklist use was associated with a striking decrease in surgical complications. An AHRQ WebM&M interview with Dr. Gawande discusses professionalism, surgical errors, and patient safety. A Patient Safety Primer on checklists is also featured on AHRQ PSNet.