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Medical News & Perspectives
November 1, 2000

Medical Errors vs Medical Injuries

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JAMA. 2000;284(17):2175-2177. doi:10.1001/jama.284.17.2175-JMN1101-2-1

Milwaukee—On a weekday morning in 1999, Jeffrey W. Runge, MD, who directs the Carolinas Center for Injury Prevention and Control and also serves as assistant chair of the Department of Emergency Medicine at Carolinas Medical Center in Charlotte, NC, was suturing a laceration on a young house-painter's hand.

"I asked him to hang his hand over the gurney, palm up," said Runge in a recent interview, but apparently the patient was uncomfortable because he kept turning his hand over so that Runge had to lean over sideways to place the sutures. "If we had arm boards to secure the patient's hand in the sterile field, this wouldn't have been a problem," he said. Runge has latex allergy, so he has to wear a pair of vinyl gloves under the sterile latex gloves provided by the hospital. Unfortunately, said Runge, wearing two sets of gloves interferes with his dexterity.