Incorrect Surgical Procedures Within and Outside of the Operating Room: A Follow-up Report | Neurology | JAMA Surgery | JAMA Network
[Skip to Navigation]
Access to paid content on this site is currently suspended due to excessive activity being detected from your IP address Please contact the publisher to request reinstatement.
[Skip to Navigation Landing]
Original Article
Nov 2011

Incorrect Surgical Procedures Within and Outside of the Operating Room: A Follow-up Report

Author Affiliations

Author Affiliations: Veterans Health Administration, White River Junction, Vermont (Ms Neily and Drs Mills, Carney, and Young-Xu); Dartmouth College, Hanover, New Hampshire (Dr Mills); Veterans Health Administration (Mr Turner), Medical School and College of Engineering, University of Michigan (Dr Bagian), and VA National Center for Patient Safety (Dr Bagian and Mr Eldridge), Ann Arbor; Veterans Health Administration, Central Office, Washington, DC (Ms Pfeffer and Dr Gunnar); and Department of Thoracic and Cardiovascular Surgery, Loyola University Stritch School of Surgery, Chicago, Illinois (Dr Gunnar). Mr Eldridge is now with the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality Center for Quality Improvement and Patient Safety.

Arch Surg. 2011;146(11):1235-1239. doi:10.1001/archsurg.2011.171

Objective To describe incorrect surgical procedures reported from mid-2006 to 2009 from Veterans Health Administration medical centers and build on previously reported events from 2001 to mid-2006.

Design Retrospective database review.

Setting Veterans Health Administration medical centers.

Interventions The Veterans Health Administration implemented Medical Team Training and continues to support their directive for ensuring correct surgery to improve surgical patient safety.

Main Outcome Measures The categories were incorrect procedure types (wrong patient, side, site, procedure, or implant), major or minor surgery, in or out of the operating room (OR), adverse event or close call, specialty, and harm.

Results Our review produced 237 reports (101 adverse events, 136 close calls) and found decreased harm compared with the previous report. The rate of reported adverse events decreased from 3.21 to 2.4 per month (P = .02). Reported close calls increased from 1.97 to 3.24 per month (P ≤ .001). Adverse events were evenly split between OR (50) and non-OR (51). When in-OR events were examined as a rate, Neurosurgery had 1.56 and Ophthalmology had 1.06 reported adverse events per 10 000 cases. The most common root cause for adverse events was a lack of standardization of clinical processes (18%).

Conclusions The rate of reported adverse events and harm decreased, while reported close calls increased. Despite improvements, we aim to achieve further gains. Current plans and actions include sharing lessons learned from root cause analyses, policy changes based on root cause analysis review, and additional focused Medical Team Training as needed.