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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
Teixeira PGR, Inaba K, Salim A, et al. Arch Surg. 2009;144:536-541.
Patient safety in trauma poses unique challenges given the acuity of the patients and the need for rapid assessment in delivering life-saving care. This study analyzed more than 2500 complications discussed at morbidity and mortality (M&M) conferences to characterize their preventability and clinical relevance. Investigators discovered that the complications ripe for quality improvement initiatives included unintended extubations, surgical technical failures, missed injuries, and intravascular catheter-related complications. An invited critique [see link below] reflects on the study's findings and points out the challenges in reporting performance data without needed standardization. A past AHRQ WebM&M commentary discussed the systematic assessment of trauma patients in the context of a missed patient injury.