When it comes to medical errors, wrong-site, wrong-procedure, wrong-patient errors are among the most terrifying. These types of errors, also known as WSPEs, are never events. This means that there is never an excuse for these accidents to occur.
According to the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality, WSPEs may include surgery on the wrong body part or a procedure performed on the wrong patient.
Causes of WSPEs
The major cause of serious errors is a lack of communication. Without clear communication between all members of the medical team, never events are more likely to occur. A doctor may not communicate the correct dosage of medication or a medical professional may fail to write down the correct location of the procedure. Patient files may also become mixed up.
Prevention of WSPEs
There have been many efforts taken to prevent WSPEs. In the past, initiatives such as sign your site became popular. The idea behind this initiative was for patients to mark the operative site so that the surgeon knew not to cut into that area. Unfortunately, without site-marking protocol or differences in protocol, the site markings could become confusing. Surgical teams became confused when attempting to figure out what the marking meant.
Communication between all members of the medical team is one of the best prevention efforts. Surgical timeouts may help prevent errors because the physicians have to overlook the important aspects of the procedure before taking ant action. Surgery checklists are also a means in which to prevent WSPEs.
To avoid WSPEs, physicians must do more than take a timeout before surgery. There has to be a system of solutions, teamwork and vigilance to prevent never events in hospitals.