WebM&M: Case Studies
WebM&M (Morbidity & Mortality Rounds on the Web) features expert analysis of medical errors reported anonymously by our readers. Spotlight Cases include interactive learning modules available for CME. Commentaries are written by patient safety experts and published monthly.
Have you encountered medical errors or patient safety issues? Submit your case below to help the medical community and to prevent similar errors in the future.
This Month's WebM&Ms
This case involves a procedural sedation error in a 3-year-old patient who presented to the... Read More
This Spotlight Case highlights two cases of falls in older patients in nursing homes. The commentary discusses how risk factors... Read More
This case represents a known but generally preventable complication of calcium chloride infusion, eventually necessitating surgical... Read More
All WebM&M: Case Studies (14)
This Spotlight Case highlights two cases of falls in older patients in nursing homes. The commentary discusses how risk factors for falls should be considered in care planning and approaches to fall prevention in long-term care settings.
A 72-year-old man was diagnosed with COVID-19 pneumonia and ileus, and admitted to a specialized COVID care unit. A nasogastric tube (NGT) was placed, supplemental oxygen was provided, and oral feedings were withheld. Early in his hospital stay, the patient developed hyperactive delirium and pulled out his NGT. Haloperidol was ordered for use as needed (“prn”) and the nurse was asked to replace the NGT and confirm placement by X-ray. The bedside and charge nurses had difficulty placing the NGT and the X-ray confirmation was not done. Eight hours later, the patient became hypotensive and hypoxemic and emergent CT revealed a gastric perforation. The patient was transferred to the intensive care unit and ultimately required endotracheal intubation with mechanical ventilation. The commentary discusses the complications associated with nasogastric tube insertion, assessing and treating acute agitation secondary to delirium, and the importance of clear communication during shift changes and handoffs.
An 18-month-old girl presented to the Emergency Department (ED) after being attacked by a dog and sustaining multiple penetrating injuries to her head and neck. After multiple unsuccessful attempts to establish intravenous access, an intraosseous (IO) line was placed in the patient’s proximal left tibia to facilitate administration of fluids, blood products, vasopressors, and antibiotics. In the operating room, peripheral intravenous (IV) access was eventually obtained after which intraoperative use of the IO line was restricted to a low-rate fluid infusion. An hour into the operation, the anesthesiologist found her left calf to be warm and tense, presumably due to fluid extravasation from the IO line. The IO line was removed, and the Orthopedic Surgery service was consulted intraoperatively due to concern for acute compartment syndrome. Signs of compartment syndrome eventually resolved without any surgical intervention. The commentary summarizes complications associated with IO lines, the importance of anticipating procedural complications, and methods to identify the signs and symptoms of acute compartment syndrome.