Wrong-site Surgery Study from ARCH
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In today's blog we have an interesting reference site about wrong-site, wrong-patient and wrong-procedure surgeries. The Renal & Urology News site has an interesting article dated January 5, 2011 titled, Wrong-Site, Wrong-Patient Surgeries Found to Persist, By Ann w. Latner, JD. In the article Ms. Latner discussed a study that considered the insurance losses for 6,000 patient errors in Colorado between 2002 and 2008. Imagine this is only Colorado. The causes might surprise you. They seem to be confinded mostly to diagnosis errors and communication issues. Errors of judgment accounted for 85% and a failure to use the "time-out" process accounted for 72% of the cases. It's a good read.
The Archives of Surgery site is here. Wrong-Site and Wrong-Patient Procedures in the Universal Protocol Era and can be found in volume 145, no. 10 from October 2010 issue of ARCH. Here is the abstract to the article.
Philip F. Stahel, MD; Allison L. Sabel, MD, PhD, MPH; Michael S. Victoroff, MD; Jeffrey Varnell, MD; Alan Lembitz, MD; Dennis J. Boyle, MD; Ted J. Clarke, MD; Wade R. Smith, MD; Philip S. Mehler, MD
Arch Surg. 2010;145(10):978-984. doi:10.1001/archsurg.2010.185
Objective To determine the frequency, root cause, and outcome of wrong-site and wrong-patient procedures in the era of the Universal Protocol.
Design Analysis of a prospective physician insurance database performed from January 1, 2002, to June 1, 2008. Deidentified cases were screened using predefined taxonomy filters, and data were analyzed by evaluation criteria defined a priori.
Patients Database contained 27 370 physician self-reported adverse occurrences.
Main Outcome Measures Descriptive statistics were generated to examine the characteristics of the reporting physicians, the number of adverse events reported per year, and the root causes and occurrence-related patient outcomes.
Results A total of 25 wrong-patient and 107 wrong-site procedures were identified during the study period. Significant harm was inflicted in 5 wrong-patient procedures (20.0%) and 38 wrong-site procedures (35.5%). One patient died secondary to a wrong-site procedure (0.9%). The main root causes leading to wrong-patient procedures were errors in diagnosis (56.0%) and errors in communication (100%), whereas wrong-site occurrences were related to errors in judgment (85.0%) and the lack of performing a "time-out" (72.0%). Nonsurgical specialties were involved in the cause of wrong-patient procedures and contributed equally with surgical disciplines to adverse outcome related to wrong-site occurrences.
Conclusions These data reveal a persisting high frequency of surgical "never events." Strict adherence to the Universal Protocol must be expanded to nonsurgical specialties to promote a zero-tolerance philosophy for these preventable incidents.
Author Affiliations: Departments of Orthopaedic Surgery (Dr Stahel), Neurosurgery (Dr Stahel), and Internal Medicine (Drs Boyle and Mehler), Denver Health Medical Center and University of Colorado School of Medicine, Denver; Department of Patient Safety and Quality, Denver Health Medical Center (Drs Sabel and Mehler); Department of Biostatistics and Informatics, University of Colorado (Dr Sabel); Colorado Physician Insurance Company, Denver (Drs Victoroff, Varnell, Lembitz, Boyle, and Clarke); and Department of Orthopaedic Surgery, Geisinger Medical Center, Danville, Pennsylvania (Dr Smith).
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