Have a Story to Tell? Had a medical error?

This blog is about patient safety, medical malpractice, staying healthy, and preventing future errors. Help & empower someone else, Teach a lesson, Bear witness, Build our community - Email us or call 781-444-5525.

Frustrated with a health problem?

Need an ally in your health crisis? Call 781-444-5525, or learn more.

Monday, June 6, 2011

Permanent, pervasive and beyond their control: Non-use of hospital checklists

David Maxfield, Linda Groah, and their research team at VitalSmarts and the Association of periOperative Registered Nurses (AORN) surveyed 2,383 registered nurses about communication breakdowns. For each breakdown, the nurses said whether it had been part of a continuing ["permanent"] pattern, was widespread ["pervasive"], or was within the nurse's control. Here are two of the 50 or so "triple-negative" [permanent, pervasive, and beyond their control] incidents the researchers collected:

"A special graft was ordered and due to arrive at 10:00. The surgeon insisted the day before he had to have this particular graft. The day of surgery the graft was not yet physically in the building but the surgeon insisted we put the patient to sleep. My stand was that unless you were prepared to use something else we should wait until it arrived. All of our checklists and protocols require that all implants and necessary items are available before the case begins. The surgeon said he would [get the graft] if necessary. I felt we were jeopardizing patient care, setting a poor example to the staff and why do we go through all these things in the first place?"

"Inserting central line at bedside in ICU. Used checklist but surgeon refused maximal sterile barrier and in fact, ridiculed me and hospital staff for instituting (this precaution) when there is no 'proof' it works. Hospital does not allow RN to stop procedure so it was inserted without maximal sterile barrier."

Unfortunately, there are times when well-intentioned staff can't speak truth to power.

Advice: A professional patient advocate can help in these situations.

Read about finding and working with a professional patient advocate in Chapter 12 of Getting Your Best Health Care: Real-World Stories for Patient Empowerment.

No comments: