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1.  Patient-Safety-Related Hospital Deaths in England: Thematic Analysis of Incidents Reported to a National Database, 2010–2012 
PLoS Medicine  2014;11(6):e1001667.
Sukhmeet Panesar and colleagues classified reports of patient-safety-related hospital deaths in England to identify patterns of cases where improvements might be possible.
Please see later in the article for the Editors' Summary
Hospital mortality is increasingly being regarded as a key indicator of patient safety, yet methodologies for assessing mortality are frequently contested and seldom point directly to areas of risk and solutions. The aim of our study was to classify reports of deaths due to unsafe care into broad areas of systemic failure capable of being addressed by stronger policies, procedures, and practices. The deaths were reported to a patient safety incident reporting system after mandatory reporting of such incidents was introduced.
Methods and Findings
The UK National Health Service database was searched for incidents resulting in a reported death of an adult over the period of the study. The study population comprised 2,010 incidents involving patients aged 16 y and over in acute hospital settings. Each incident report was reviewed by two of the authors, and, by scrutinising the structured information together with the free text, a main reason for the harm was identified and recorded as one of 18 incident types. These incident types were then aggregated into six areas of apparent systemic failure: mismanagement of deterioration (35%), failure of prevention (26%), deficient checking and oversight (11%), dysfunctional patient flow (10%), equipment-related errors (6%), and other (12%). The most common incident types were failure to act on or recognise deterioration (23%), inpatient falls (10%), healthcare-associated infections (10%), unexpected per-operative death (6%), and poor or inadequate handover (5%). Analysis of these 2,010 fatal incidents reveals patterns of issues that point to actionable areas for improvement.
Our approach demonstrates the potential utility of patient safety incident reports in identifying areas of service failure and highlights opportunities for corrective action to save lives.
Please see later in the article for the Editors' Summary
Editors' Summary
Being admitted to the hospital is worrying for patients and for their relatives. Will the patient recover or die in the hospital? Some seriously ill patients will inevitably die, but in an ideal world, no one should die in the hospital because of inadequate or unsafe care (an avoidable death). No one should die, for example, because healthcare professionals fail to act on signs that indicate a decline in a patient's clinical condition. Hospital mortality (death) is often regarded as a key indicator of patient safety in hospitals, and death rate indicators such as the “hospital standardized mortality ratio” (the ratio of the actual number of acute in-hospital deaths to the expected number of in-hospital deaths) are widely used to monitor and improve hospital safety standards. In England, for example, a 2012 report that included this measure as an indicator of hospital performance led to headlines of “worryingly high” hospital death rates and to a review of the quality of care in the hospitals with the highest death rates.
Why Was This Study Done?
Hospital standardized mortality ratios and other measures of in-patient mortality can be misleading because they can, for example, reflect the burden of disease near the hospital rather than the hospital's quality of care or safety levels. Moreover, comparative data on hospital mortality rates are of limited value in identifying areas of risk to patients or solutions to the problem of avoidable deaths. In this study, to identify areas of service failure amenable to improvement through strengthened clinical policies, procedures, and practices, the researchers undertake a thematic analysis of deaths in hospitals in England that were reported by healthcare staff to a mandatory patient-safety-related incident reporting system. Since 2004, staff in the UK National Health Service (the NHS comprises the publicly funded healthcare systems in England, Scotland, Wales, and Northern Ireland) have been encouraged to report any unintended or unexpected incident in which they believe a patient's safety was compromised. Since June 2010, it has been mandatory for staff in England and Wales to report deaths due to patient-safety-related incidents. A thematic analysis examines patterns (“themes”) within nonnumerical (qualitative) data.
What Did the Researchers Do and Find?
By searching the NHS database of patient-safety-related incidents, the researchers identified 2010 incidents that occurred between 1 June 2010 and 31 October 2012 that resulted in the death of adult patients in acute hospital settings. By scrutinizing the structured information in each incident report and the associated free text in which the reporter described what happened and why they think it happened, the researchers classified the reports into 18 incident categories. These categories fell into six broad areas of systemic failure—mismanagement of deterioration (35% of incidents), failure of prevention (26%), deficient checking and oversight (11%), dysfunctional patient flow (10%), equipment-related errors (6%), and other (12%, incidents where the problem underlying death was unclear). Management of deterioration, for example, included the incident categories “failure to act on or recognize deterioration” (23% of reported incidents), “failure to give ordered treatment/support in a timely manner,” and “failure to observe.” Failure of prevention included the incident categories “falls” (10% of reported incidents), “healthcare-associated infections” (also 10% of reported incidents), “pressure sores,” “suicides,” and “deep vein thrombosis/pulmonary embolism.”
What Do These Findings Mean?
Although the accuracy of these findings may be limited by data quality and by other aspects of the study design, they reveal patterns of patient-safety-related deaths in hospitals in England and highlight areas of healthcare that can be targeted for improvement. The finding that the mismanagement of deterioration of acutely ill patients is involved in a third of patient-safety-related deaths identifies an area of particular concern in the NHS and, potentially, in other healthcare systems. One way to reduce deaths associated with the mismanagement of deterioration, suggest the researchers, might be to introduce a standardized early warning score to ensure uniform identification of this population of patients. The researchers also suggest that more effort should be put into designing programs to prevent falls and other incidents and into ensuring that these programs are effectively implemented. More generally, the classification system developed here has the potential to help hospital boards and clinicians identify areas of patient care that require greater scrutiny and intervention and thereby save the lives of many hospital patients.
Additional Information
Please access these websites via the online version of this summary at
The NHS provides information about patient safety, including a definition of a patient safety incident and information on reporting patient safety incidents
The NHS Choices website includes several “Behind the Headlines” articles that discuss patient safety in hospitals, including an article that discusses the 2012 report of high hospital death rates in England, “Fit for the Future?” and another that discusses the Keogh review of the quality of care in the hospitals with highest death rates
The US Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality provides information on patient safety in the US
Wikipedia has pages on thematic analysis and on patient safety (note that Wikipedia is a free online encyclopedia that anyone can edit; available in several languages)
PMCID: PMC4068985  PMID: 24959751
2.  Can the surgical checklist reduce the risk of wrong site surgery in orthopaedics? - can the checklist help? Supporting evidence from analysis of a national patient incident reporting system 
Surgical procedures are now very common, with estimates ranging from 4% of the general population having an operation per annum in economically-developing countries; this rising to 8% in economically-developed countries. Whilst these surgical procedures typically result in considerable improvements to health outcomes, it is increasingly appreciated that surgery is a high risk industry. Tools developed in the aviation industry are beginning to be used to minimise the risk of errors in surgery. One such tool is the World Health Organization's (WHO) surgery checklist. The National Patient Safety Agency (NPSA) manages the largest database of patient safety incidents (PSIs) in the world, already having received over three million reports of episodes of care that could or did result in iatrogenic harm. The aim of this study was to estimate how many incidents of wrong site surgery in orthopaedics that have been reported to the NPSA could have been prevented by the WHO surgical checklist.
The National Reporting and Learning Service (NRLS) database was searched between 1st January 2008- 31st December 2008 to identify all incidents classified as wrong site surgery in orthopaedics. These incidents were broken down into the different types of wrong site surgery. A Likert-scale from 1-5 was used to assess the preventability of these cases if the checklist was used.
133/316 (42%) incidents satisfied the inclusion criteria. A large proportion of cases, 183/316 were misclassified. Furthermore, there were fewer cases of actual harm [9% (12/133)] versus 'near-misses' [121/133 (91%)]. Subsequent analysis revealed a smaller proportion of 'near-misses' being prevented by the checklist than the proportion of incidents that resulted in actual harm; 18/121 [14.9% (95% CI 8.5 - 21.2%)] versus 10/12 [83.3% (95%CI 62.2 - 104.4%)] respectively. Summatively, the checklist could have been prevented 28/133 [21.1% (95%CI 14.1 - 28.0%)] patient safety incidents.
Orthopaedic surgery is a high volume specialty with major technical complexity in terms of equipment demands and staff training and familiarity. There is therefore an increased propensity for errors to occur. Wrong-site surgery still occurs in this specialty and is a potentially devastating situation for both the patient and surgeon. Despite the limitations of inclusion and reporting bias, our study highlights the need to match technical precision with patient safety. Tools such as the WHO surgical checklist can help us to achieve this.
PMCID: PMC3101645  PMID: 21501466
3.  The orthopaedic error index: development and application of a novel national indicator for assessing the relative safety of hospital care using a cross-sectional approach 
BMJ Open  2013;3(11):e003448.
The Orthopaedic Error Index for hospitals aims to provide the first national assessment of the relative safety of provision of orthopaedic surgery.
Cross-sectional study (retrospective analysis of records in a database).
The National Reporting and Learning System is the largest national repository of patient-safety incidents in the world with over eight million error reports. It offers a unique opportunity to develop novel approaches to enhancing patient safety, including investigating the relative safety of different healthcare providers and specialties.
We extracted all orthopaedic error reports from the system over 1 year (2009–2010).
Outcome measures
The Orthopaedic Error Index was calculated as a sum of the error propensity and severity. All relevant hospitals offering orthopaedic surgery in England were then ranked by this metric to identify possible outliers that warrant further attention.
155 hospitals reported 48 971 orthopaedic-related patient-safety incidents. The mean Orthopaedic Error Index was 7.09/year (SD 2.72); five hospitals were identified as outliers. Three of these units were specialist tertiary hospitals carrying out complex surgery; the remaining two outlier hospitals had unusually high Orthopaedic Error Indexes: mean 14.46 (SD 0.29) and 15.29 (SD 0.51), respectively.
The Orthopaedic Error Index has enabled identification of hospitals that may be putting patients at disproportionate risk of orthopaedic-related iatrogenic harm and which therefore warrant further investigation. It provides the prototype of a summary index of harm to enable surveillance of unsafe care over time across institutions. Further validation and scrutiny of the method will be required to assess its potential to be extended to other hospital specialties in the UK and also internationally to other health systems that have comparable national databases of patient-safety incidents.
PMCID: PMC3840344  PMID: 24270831
4.  A review of safety incidents in England and Wales for vascular endothelial growth factor inhibitor medications 
Eye  2011;25(6):710-716.
To learn from patient safety incidents (PSIs) following recent introduction of vascular endothelial growth factor inhibitor medications (anti-VEGF) in ophthalmic care, as reported via a national incident reporting database.
Thematic retrospective review of anti-VEGF medications PSIs as reported via clinical incident reporting methods in NHS care in England and Wales from 2003 to 2010, ascertained from database mining at the National Patient Safety Agency (NPSA).
In all, 166 relevant anti-VEGF incidents were reported. Reports have increased year on year from 2006. Incident severity as reported: 10 were reported as ‘severe harm' and 23 as ‘moderate harm'. The remainder were ‘low' or ‘no harm' events. The incident themes and/or causes found and by order of severity included: intra-ocular inflammation/endophthalmitis (n=16); treatment or follow-up delays (n=45); wrong medication (n=26); wrong eye/patient injection (n=17); missing records (n=12). Other problems included medication availability and refrigeration failures. We reflect on potential solutions for addressing the matters found. Systemic safety matters, stroke, subdural hemorrhage, and myocardial infarction (total n=3) followed anti-VEGF treatments.
Although infrequent, anti-VEGF medication PSIs or errors do occur and are thus a threat to quality. This review also provides supporting evidence to existing concerns and challenges surrounding age-related macular degeneration service pressures and provision. Lessons for improvement of care from a national incident reporting database for a frequently undertaken and recently introduced ophthalmic procedure were found. Suggestions are proposed for improving quality by reducing such problems based on analysis of such reports. Endophthalmitis reports following intra-vitreal injections suggest rigorous infection control measures are required.
PMCID: PMC3178143  PMID: 21527957
vascular endothelial growth factor; macular; retina; patient safety incident; endophthalmitis; organization
5.  Corruption in the health care sector: A barrier to access of orthopaedic care and medical devices in Uganda 
Globally, injuries cause approximately as many deaths per year as HIV/AIDS, tuberculosis and malaria combined, and 90% of injury deaths occur in low- and middle- income countries. Given not all injuries kill, the disability burden, particularly from orthopaedic injuries, is much higher but is poorly measured at present. The orthopaedic services and orthopaedic medical devices needed to manage the injury burden are frequently unavailable in these countries. Corruption is known to be a major barrier to access of health care, but its effects on access to orthopaedic services is still unknown.
A qualitative case study of 45 open-ended interviews was conducted to investigate the access to orthopaedic health services and orthopaedic medical devices in Uganda. Participants included orthopaedic surgeons, related healthcare professionals, industry and government representatives, and patients. Participants’ experiences in accessing orthopaedic medical devices were explored. Thematic analysis was used to analyze and code the transcripts.
Analysis of the interview data identified poor leadership in government and corruption as major barriers to access of orthopaedic care and orthopaedic medical devices. Corruption was perceived to occur at the worker, hospital and government levels in the forms of misappropriation of funds, theft of equipment, resale of drugs and medical devices, fraud and absenteeism. Other barriers elicited included insufficient health infrastructure and human resources, and high costs of orthopaedic equipment and poverty.
This study identified perceived corruption as a significant barrier to access of orthopaedic care and orthopaedic medical devices in Uganda. As the burden of injury continues to grow, the need to combat corruption and ensure access to orthopaedic services is imperative. Anti-corruption strategies such as transparency and accountability measures, codes of conduct, whistleblower protection, and higher wages and benefits for workers could be important and initial steps in improving access orthopaedic care and OMDs, and managing the global injury burden.
PMCID: PMC3492067  PMID: 22554349
6.  Prostate-Specific Antigen Nadir Within 12 Months of Prostate Cancer Radiotherapy Predicts Metastasis and Death 
Cancer  2007;109(1):41-47.
The nadir prostate-specific antigen (PSA) at 1 year (nPSA12) was investigated as an early estimate of biochemical and clinical outcome after radiotherapy (RT) alone for localized prostate cancer.
From May 1989 to November 1999, 1000 men received 3D conformal RT alone (median, 76 Gy) with minimum and median follow-up periods of 26 and 58 months, respectively, from the end of treatment. The calculation of PSA doubling time (PSADT) was possible in 657 patients. Multivariate analyses (MVAs) via Cox proportional hazards regression were used to determine the association of nPSA12 to biochemical failure (BF; ASTRO definition), distant metastasis (DM), cause-specific mortality (CSM), and overall mortality (OM). Dichotomization of nPSA12 was optimized by evaluating the sequential model likelihood ratio and P-values.
In MVA, nPSA12 as a continuous variable was independent of RT dose, T-stage, Gleason score, pretreatment initial PSA, age, and PSADT in predicting for BF, DM, CSM, and OM. Dichotomized nPSA12 (≤2 versus >2 ng/mL) was independently related to DM and CSM. Kaplan-Meier 10-year DM rates for nPSA12 ≤2 versus >2 ng/mL were 4% versus 19% (P < .0001).
nPSA12 is a strong independent predictor of outcome after RTalone for prostate cancer and should be useful in identifying patients at high risk for progression to metastasis and death.
PMCID: PMC1892752  PMID: 17133416
prostate cancer; prostate-specific antigen nadir; 3D conformal radiotherapy; distant metastasis; cause-specific mortality
7.  P24 - Geriatric Medicine: An Innovative Care Strategy in Orthopaedics and Traumatology 
For many years, the administration of the Careggi University Hospital (CUH), in agreement with the Faculty of Medicine and Surgery of the University of Florence, has pressed for the creation of a department of general medicine within its othopaedic traumatology centre. In its decision n.243 of May 5, 2009, the administration of the CUH, along the lines of similar experiences already in place, set up a simple departmental unit (SDU) of geriatric medicine (GM) within the hospital’s department of orthopaedics.
The aim of this unit is to guarantee continuity of care to orthopaedics inpatients, through the identification of a specific care pathway for clinically unstable patients. The clinical activity carried out, mainly in the context of the provision of continuity of care, takes the form of daily consultancy. The SDU has a series of objectives, organisational (less postponement of surgery due to medical problems, better integration of healthcare through a multidisciplinary team, provision of internal medicine and geriatric consultancy to guarantee continuity of care), clinical (reduction of peri-operative medical complications and adverse events) and strategic (improvement of the quality of geriatric and internal medicine care, better communication with patients and families). The unit strives to exploit to the full the multi-professional (doctors, rehabilitation therapists, registered nurses, social workers) and interdisciplinary (internal medicine, geriatrics, orthopaedics, physical medicine, anaesthesiology, cardiology, angiology etc.) intervention and, in the fragile elderly, applies a multi-dimensional geriatric assessment instrument.
Clinical activity:
The physicians working in the GM SDU provide daily consultancy, including Saturday mornings. Constant telephone contact is available, also on Sundays and holidays.
In the period from 1/9/2009 to 31/7/2010, a total of 1867 consultancies were provided, spread over 268 days, which corresponds to a mean of 6.97 examinations/day. Of these, 652 (34.92%) were first visits and 1215 (65.08%) were follow ups. The assessments were always conducted in a spirit of multi-professional and multidisciplinary collaboration.
The assessments were carried out in the following departments: general orthopaedics II (25.98%), general orthopaedics I (21.26%), general orthopaedics III (18.26%), traumatology-orthopaedics (13.55%), orthopaedic oncology and reconstruction (11.25%) as well as, in smaller percentages, in all the other SDUs of the orthopaedics department, in the neurosurgery department, the plastic surgery department and the spinal unit.
In particular, internal and geriatric medicine consultancy for patients was requested in connection with high levels of co-morbidity, polypharmacy regimens, acute confusional state, dehydration, hydro-electrolytic disorders, uncompensated type 2 diabetes mellitus, pulmonary embolism, chronic liver disease and cirrhosis, pneumonia and bronchitis causing respiratory insufficiency, decompensated congestive heart failure, targeted antibiotic therapy, chronic renal insufficiency, and management of anti-aggregant and anticoagulant therapies.
Positive aspects: the clinical assessments were made using a multidisciplinary approach, based on the fundamental collaboration of specialists in orthopaedics, anaesthesiology-resuscitation, angiology, cardiology, radiology and physical medicine; excellent collaboration with services (radiology, neuroradiology, angiology, cardiology, etc.).
Negative aspects: constant difficulties transferring clinically unstable patients to the hospital’s medical specialty SDUs due to lack of beds; lack of intermediate care beds as a sort of “buffer” between the intensive care and inpatient departments; scope for improving the internal medicine skills of the nursing staff.
Research projects:
In synergy the hospital’s other SDUs, the GM SDU takes part in projects aiming to improve care and clinical management. It currently has collaborations with the geriatrics clinic, regional centre of reference for haemostasis and thrombosis, the bone metabolism clinic, the orthopaedics clinics, the geriatrics agency, the radiology service, the continuity-of-care agency, the clinical management, and the general affairs unit. Furthermore, on the instigation of the regional health council, a working group has recently been set up on the reorganisation of the “Care pathway of elderly patients with proximal femur fracture (orthogeriatrics)”.
Prospects for implementation and improvement:
The aims of the “Project to reorganise and upgrade the orthopaedics and traumatology centre of the Careggi University Hospital” include: the institution of a medical geriatrics department providing medium and high intensity of care; the presence, 24 hours/day, of a specialist from the medical area in the traumatology open space; the involvement of the internal medicine specialist in pre-hospitalisation procedures.
PMCID: PMC3213796
8.  Neck of femur fractures in the over 90s: a select group of patients who require prompt surgical intervention for optimal results 
Patients in the extremes of old age with a femoral neck fracture represent a challenging subgroup, and are thought to be associated with poorer outcomes due to increased numbers of comorbidities. Whilst many studies are aimed at determining the optimum time for surgical fixation, there is no agreed consensus for those over 90. The aim of this study is to report the surgical outcome of this population, to understand the role surgical timing may have on operative outcomes using the orthopaedic POSSUM scoring system and to identify whether medical optimization occurs during the period of admission before surgery.
Materials and methods
We conducted a prospective observational study; data was collected from two district general hospitals over 32 consecutive months. All patients aged 90 and above who were deemed suitable for surgical fixation were included. Each one had their orthopaedic POSSUM score calculated at admission and at surgery, using their computerised and paper medical records. Assessment of outcome was based on morbidity and mortality at 30 days.
A total of 146 consecutive patients above the age of 90 underwent surgery and were followed. The average age of the patients was 93 years, 123 (84 %) were female and 23 (16 %) male. Sixty-one patients were operated on within 24 h from admission, 52 patients within 24 and 48 h and 33 had surgery after 48 h from admission. In total, 21 deaths (14.4 %) were recorded and 81 patients (55.5 %) had a post-operative complication within 30 days. The orthopaedic POSSUM scoring system predicted 30-day mortality in 23 patients and morbidity in 83 patients. This gave observed to predicted ratios of 0.91 and 0.98 respectively. Overall, there was a small improvement in physiological scores taken just prior to surgery compared to those at admission. Mortality and morbidity rates were higher for those operated on or after 24 and 48-h cutoffs compared to those proceeding to surgery within 24 h (P = 0.071 and P = 0.021 respectively and P = 0.048 and P = 0.00011 respectively). When stratified according to their POSSUM scores, patients with scores of 41+ and surgery after 48 h had a significantly higher mortality rate than if they had surgery earlier (P = 0.038). Morbidity rates rose after 24 h of surgical delay (P = 0.026). Patients with a total POSSUM score between 33 and 40 exhibited a higher morbidity after a 24-h delay to surgery (P = 0.0064).
As life expectancy increases, older patients are becoming commoner in our hospital systems. We believe the orthopaedic POSSUM scoring system can be used as an adjuvant tool in prioritising surgical need, and allow for a more impartial evaluation when changes to practice are made. Our findings show that timing of surgery has an important bearing on mortality and morbidity after hip surgery, and older patients with higher orthopaedic POSSUM scores are sensitive to delays in surgery.
PMCID: PMC3948521  PMID: 23860690
Fracture neck of femur; Nonagenarians; Timing of surgery
9.  Life impact of ankle fractures: Qualitative analysis of patient and clinician experiences 
Ankle fractures are one of the more commonly occurring forms of trauma managed by orthopaedic teams worldwide. The impacts of these injuries are not restricted to pain and disability caused at the time of the incident, but may also result in long term physical, psychological, and social consequences. There are currently no ankle fracture specific patient-reported outcome measures with a robust content foundation. This investigation aimed to develop a thematic conceptual framework of life impacts following ankle fracture from the experiences of people who have suffered ankle fractures as well as the health professionals who treat them.
A qualitative investigation was undertaken using in-depth semi-structured interviews with people (n=12) who had previously sustained an ankle fracture (patients) and health professionals (n=6) that treat people with ankle fractures. Interviews were audio-recorded and transcribed. Each phrase was individually coded and grouped in categories and aligned under emerging themes by two independent researchers.
Saturation occurred after 10 in-depth patient interviews. Time since injury for patients ranged from 6 weeks to more than 2 years. Experience of health professionals ranged from 1 year to 16 years working with people with ankle fractures. Health professionals included an Orthopaedic surgeon (1), physiotherapists (3), a podiatrist (1) and an occupational therapist (1). The emerging framework derived from patient data included eight themes (Physical, Psychological, Daily Living, Social, Occupational and Domestic, Financial, Aesthetic and Medication Taking). Health professional responses did not reveal any additional themes, but tended to focus on physical and occupational themes.
The nature of life impact following ankle fractures can extend beyond short term pain and discomfort into many areas of life. The findings from this research have provided an empirically derived framework from which a condition-specific patient-reported outcome measure can be developed.
PMCID: PMC3517753  PMID: 23171034
10.  Likelihood of reporting adverse events in community pharmacy: an experimental study 
In the UK the National Reporting and Learning System (NRLS) is designed to coordinate the reporting of patient safety incidents nationally and to improve the ability of the health service to learn from the analysis of these events. Little is known about levels of engagement with the NRLS.
To examine the likelihood of community pharmacists and support staff reporting patient safety incidents which occur in community pharmacies.
Questionnaire survey containing nine incident scenarios. In the scenarios two factors were orthogonally manipulated: the outcome for the patient was reported as good, bad or poor, and the behaviour of the pharmacist was described as either complying with a protocol, not being aware of a protocol (error), or violating a protocol. Respondents were asked to rate whether they would report the incident (1) locally within the pharmacy and (2) nationally to the National Patient Safety Agency (NPSA).
275 questionnaires were returned (79% response rate) from 223 community pharmacists and 52 members of support staff. There were significant main effects for both patient outcome (F(2,520) = 18.19, p<0.001) and behaviour type (F(2,520) = 93.98, p<0.001), indicating that pharmacists and support staff would take into account both the outcome of the behaviour and whether or not it follows a protocol when considering to report an incident within the pharmacy. Likewise, both pharmacists and support staff considered patient outcome (F(2,524) = 12.59, p<0.001) and behaviour type (F(2,524) = 34.82, p<0.001) when considering to report to the NPSA. Both locally and nationally, the likelihood of reporting any incident was low, and judgements on whether to report were more affected by the behaviour of the pharmacist in relation to protocols than the resulting outcome for the patient.
Community pharmacists and their support staff would be unlikely to report adverse incidents if they witnessed them occurring in a community pharmacy. They remain to be convinced that the advantages to them and their patients outweigh the consequences of blame.
PMCID: PMC2563997  PMID: 16456210
community pharmacy; errors; incident reporting; violations
11.  Experience of wrong site surgery and surgical marking practices among clinicians in the UK 
Quality & Safety in Health Care  2006;15(5):363-368.
Little is known about the incidence of “wrong site surgery”, but the consequences of this type of medical error can be severe. Guidance from both the USA and more recently the UK has highlighted the importance of preventing error by marking patients before surgery.
To investigate the experiences of wrong site surgery and current marking practices among clinicians in the UK before the release of a national Correct Site Surgery Alert.
38 telephone or face‐to‐face interviews were conducted with consultant surgeons in ophthalmology, orthopaedics and urology in 14 National Health Service hospitals in the UK. The interviews were coded and analysed thematically using the software package QSR Nud*ist 6.
Most surgeons had experience of wrong site surgery, but there was no clear pattern of underlying causes. Marking practices varied considerably. Surgeons were divided on the value of marking and varied in their practices. Orthopaedic surgeons reported that they marked before surgery; however, some urologists and ophthalmologists reported that they did not. There seemed to be no formal hospital policies in place specifically relating to wrong site surgery, and there were problems associated with implementing a system of marking in some cases. The methods used to mark patients also varied. Some surgeons believed that marking was a limited method of preventing wrong site surgery and may even increase the risk of wrong site surgery.
Marking practices are variable and marking is not always used. Introducing standard guidance on marking may reduce the overall risk of wrong site surgery, especially as clinicians work at different hospital sites. However, the more specific needs of people and specialties must also be considered.
PMCID: PMC2565824  PMID: 17074875
12.  Impact of age and comorbidity burden on mortality and major complications in older adults undergoing orthopaedic surgery: an analysis using the Japanese diagnosis procedure combination database 
The purpose of this study was to examine how complications in older adults undergoing orthopaedic surgery vary as a function of age, comorbidity, and type of surgical procedure.
We abstracted data from the Japanese Diagnosis Procedure Combination database for all patients aged ≥ 50 who had undergone cervical laminoplasty, lumbar decompression, lumbar arthrodesis, or primary total knee arthroplasty (TKA) between July 1 and December 31 in the years 2007 to 2010. Outcome measures included all-cause in-hospital mortality and incidence of major complications. We analyzed the effects of age, sex, comorbidities, and type of surgical procedure on outcomes. Charlson comorbidity index was used to identify and summarize patients’ comorbid burden.
A total of 107,104 patients were identified who underwent cervical laminoplasty (16,020 patients), lumbar decompression (31,605), lumbar arthrodesis (18,419), or TKA (41,060). Of these, 17,339 (16.2%) were aged 80 years or older. Overall, in-hospital death occurred in 121 patients (0.11%) and 4,448 patients (4.2%) had at least one major complication. In-hospital mortality and complication rates increased with increasing age and comorbidity. A multivariate analysis showed mortality and major complications following surgery were associated with advanced age (aged ≥ 80 years; odds ratios 5.88 and 1.51), male gender, and a higher comorbidity burden (Charlson comorbidity index ≥ 3; odds ratio, 16.5 and 5.06). After adjustment for confounding factors, patients undergoing lumbar arthrodesis or cervical laminoplasty were at twice the risk of in-hospital mortality compared with patients undergoing TKA.
Our data demonstrated that an increased comorbid burden as measured by Charlson comorbidity index has a greater impact on postoperative mortality and major complications than age in older adults undergoing orthopaedic surgery. After adjustment, mortality following lumbar arthrodesis or cervical laminoplasty was twice as high as that in TKA. Our findings suggest that an assessment of perioperative risks in elderly patients undergoing orthopaedic surgery should be stratified according to comorbidity burden and type of procedures, as well as by patient’s age.
PMCID: PMC3669039  PMID: 23711221
Orhopaedic surgery; Spine surgery; Arthroplasty; Complication; Mortality; Database; Charlson comorbidity index; Elderly patients
13.  Endovascular Repair of Descending Thoracic Aortic Aneurysm 
Executive Summary
To conduct an assessment on endovascular repair of descending thoracic aortic aneurysm (TAA).
Clinical Need
Aneurysm is the most common condition of the thoracic aorta requiring surgery. Aortic aneurysm is defined as a localized dilatation of the aorta. Most aneurysms of the thoracic aorta are asymptomatic and incidentally discovered. However, TAA tends to enlarge progressively and compress surrounding structures causing symptoms such as chest or back pain, dysphagia (difficulty swallowing), dyspnea (shortness of breath), cough, stridor (a harsh, high-pitched breath sound), and hoarseness. Significant aortic regurgitation causes symptoms of congestive heart failure. Embolization of the thrombus to the distal arterial circulation may occur and cause related symptoms. The aneurysm may eventually rupture and create a life-threatening condition.
The overall incidence rate of TAA is about 10 per 100,000 person-years. The descending aorta is involved in about 30% to 40% of these cases.
The prognosis of large untreated TAAs is poor, with a 3-year survival rate as low as 25%. Intervention is strongly recommended for any symptomatic TAA or any TAA that exceeds twice the diameter of a normal aorta or is 6 cm or larger. Open surgical treatment of TAA involves left thoracotomy and aortic graft replacement. Surgical treatment has been found to improve survival when compared with medical therapy. However, despite dramatic advances in surgical techniques for performing such complex operations, operative mortality from centres of excellence are between 8% and 20% for elective cases, and up to 50% in patients requiring emergency operations. In addition, survivors of open surgical repair of TAAs may suffer from severe complications. Postoperative or postprocedural complications of descending TAA repair include paraplegia, myocardial infarction, stroke, respiratory failure, renal failure, and intestinal ischemia.
The Technology
Endovascular aortic aneurysm repair (EVAR) using a stent graft, a procedure called endovascular stent-graft (ESG) placement, is a new alternative to the traditional surgical approach. It is less invasive, and initial results from several studies suggest that it may reduce mortality and morbidity associated with the repair of descending TAAs.
The goal in endovascular repair is to exclude the aneurysm from the systemic circulation and prevent it from rupturing, which is life-threatening. The endovascular placement of a stent graft eliminates the systemic pressure acting on the weakened wall of the aneurysm that may lead to the rupture. However, ESG placement has some specific complications, including endovascular leak (endoleak), graft migration, stent fracture, and mechanical damage to the access artery and aortic wall.
The Talent stent graft (manufactured by Medtronic Inc., Minneapolis, MN) is licensed in Canada for the treatment of patients with TAA (Class 4; licence 36552). The design of this device has evolved since its clinical introduction. The current version has a more flexible delivery catheter than did the original system. The prosthesis is composed of nitinol stents between thin layers of polyester graft material. Each stent is secured with oversewn sutures to prevent migration.
Review Strategy
To compare the effectiveness and cost-effectiveness of ESG placement in the treatment of TAAs with a conventional surgical approach
To summarize the safety profile and effectiveness of ESG placement in the treatment of descending TAAs
Measures of Effectiveness
Primary Outcome
Mortality rates (30-day and longer term)
Secondary Outcomes
Technical success rate of introducing a stent graft and exclusion of the aneurysm sac from systemic circulation
Rate of reintervention (through surgical or endovascular approach)
Measures of Safety
Complications were categorized into 2 classes:
Those specific to the ESG procedure, including rates of aneurysm rupture, endoleak, graft migration, stent fracture, and kinking; and
Those due to the intervention, either surgical or endovascular. These include paraplegia, stroke, cardiovascular events, respiratory failure, real insufficiency, and intestinal ischemia.
Inclusion Criteria
Studies comparing the clinical outcomes of ESG treatment with surgical approaches
Studies reporting on the safety and effectiveness of the ESG procedure for the treatment of descending TAAs
Exclusion Criteria
Studies investigating the clinical effectiveness of ESG placement for other conditions such as aortic dissection, aortic ulcer, and traumatic injuries of the thoracic aorta
Studies investigating the aneurysms of the ascending and the arch of the aorta
Studies using custom-made grafts
Literature Search
The Medical Advisory Secretariat searched The International Network of Agencies for Health Technology Assessment and the Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews for health technology assessments. It also searched MEDLINE, EMBASE, Medline In-Process & Other Non-Indexed Citations, and Cochrane CENTRAL from January 1, 2000 to July 11, 2005 for studies on ESG procedures. The search was limited to English-language articles and human studies.
One health technology assessment from the United Kingdom was identified. This systematic review included all pathologies of the thoracic aorta; therefore, it did not match the inclusion criteria. The search yielded 435 citations; of these, 9 studies met inclusion criteria.
Summary of Findings
The results of a comparative study found that in-hospital mortality was not significantly different between ESG placement and surgery patients (2 [4.8%] for ESG vs. 6 [11.3%] for surgery).
Pooled data from case series with a mean follow-up ranging from 12 to 38 months showed a 30-day mortality and late mortality rate of 3.9% and 5.5%, respectively. These rates are lower than are those reported in the literature for surgical repair of TAA.
Case series showed that the most common cause of early death in patients undergoing endovascular repair is aortic rupture, and the most common causes of late death are cardiac events and aortoesophageal or aortobronchial fistula.
Technical Success Rate
Technical success rates reported by case series are 55% to 100% (100% and 94.4% in 2 studies with all elective cases, 89% in a study with 5% emergent cases, and 55% in a study with 42% emergent cases).
Surgical Reintervention
In the comparative study, 3 (7.1%) patients in the ESG group and 14 (26.5%) patients in the surgery group required surgical reintervention. In the ESG group, the reasons for surgical intervention were postoperative bleeding at the access site, paraplegia, and type 1 endoleak. In the surgical group, the reasons for surgery were duodenal perforation, persistent thoracic duct leakage, false aneurysm, and 11 cases of postoperative bleeding.
Pooled data from case series show that 9 (2.6%) patients required surgical intervention. The reasons for surgical intervention were endoleak (3 cases), aneurysm enlargement and suspected infection (1 case), aortic dissection (1 case), pseudoaneurysm of common femoral artery (1 case), evacuation of hematoma (1 case), graft migration (1 case), and injury to the access site (1 case).
Endovascular Revision
In the comparative study, 3 (7.1%) patients required endovascular revision due to persistent endoleak.
Pooled data from case series show that 19 (5.3%) patients required endovascular revision due to persistent endoleak.
Graft Migration
Two case series reported graft migration. In one study, 3 proximal and 4 component migrations were noted at 2-year follow-up (total of 5%). Another study reported 1 (3.7%) case of graft migration. Overall, the incidence of graft migration was 2.6%.
Aortic Rupture
In the comparative study, aortic rupture due to bare stent occurred in 1 case (2%). The pooled incidence of aortic rupture or dissection reported by case series was 1.4%.
Postprocedural Complications
In the comparative study, there were no statistically significant differences between the ESG and surgery groups in postprocedural complications, except for pneumonia. The rate of pneumonia was 9% for those who received an ESG and 28% for those who had surgery (P = .02). There were no cases of paraplegia in either group. The rate of other complications for ESG and surgery including stroke, cardiac, respiratory, and intestinal ischemia were all 5.1% for ESG placement and 10% for surgery. The rate for mild renal failure was 16% in the ESG group and 30% in the surgery group. The rate for severe renal failure was 11% for ESG placement and 10% for surgery.
Pooled data from case series show the following postprocedural complication rates in the ESG placement group: paraplegia (2.2%), stroke (3.9%), cardiac (2.9%), respiratory (8.7%), renal failure (2.8%), and intestinal ischemia (1%).
Time-Related Outcomes
The results of the comparative study show statistically significant differences between the ESG and surgery group for mean operative time (ESG, 2.7 hours; surgery, 5 hours), mean duration of intensive care unit stay (ESG, 11 days; surgery, 14 days), and mean length of hospital stay (ESG, 10 days; surgery, 30 days).
The mean duration of intensive care unit stay and hospital stay derived from case series is 1.6 and 7.8 days, respectively.
Ontario-Based Economic Analysis
In Ontario, the annual treatment figures for fiscal year 2004 include 17 cases of descending TAA repair procedures (source: Provincial Health Planning Database). Fourteen of these have been identified as “not ruptured” with a mean hospital length of stay of 9.23 days, and 3 cases have been identified as “ruptured,” with a mean hospital length of stay of 28 days. However, because one Canadian Classification of Health Interventions code was used for both procedures, it is not possible to determine how many were repaired with an EVAR procedure or with an open surgical procedure.
Hospitalization Costs
The current fiscal year forecast of in-hospital direct treatment costs for all in-province procedures of repair of descending TAAs is about $560,000 (Cdn). The forecast in-hospital total cost per year for in-province procedures is about $720,000 (Cdn). These costs include the device cost when the procedure is EVAR (source: Ontario Case Costing Initiative).
Professional (Ontario Health Insurance Plan) Costs
Professional costs per treated patient were calculated and include 2 preoperative thoracic surgery or EVAR consultations.
The professional costs of an EVAR include the fees paid to the surgeons, anesthetist, and surgical assistant (source: fee service codes). The procedure was calculated to take about 150 minutes.
The professional costs of an open surgical repair include the fees of the surgeon, anesthetist, and surgical assistant. Open surgical repair was estimated to take about 300 minutes.
Services provided by professionals in intensive care units were also taken into consideration, as were the costs of 2 postoperative consultations that the patients receive on average once they are discharged from the hospital. Therefore, total Ontario Health Insurance Plan costs per treated patient treated with EVAR are on average $2,956 (ruptured or not ruptured), as opposed to $5,824 for open surgical repair and $6,157 for open surgical repair when the aneurysm is ruptured.
Endovascular stent graft placement is a less invasive procedure for repair of TAA than is open surgical repair.
There is no high-quality evidence with long-term follow-up data to support the use of EVAR as the first choice of treatment for patients with TAA that are suitable candidates for surgical intervention.
However, short- and medium-term outcomes of ESG placement reported by several studies are satisfactory and comparable to surgical intervention; therefore, for patients at high risk of surgery, it is a practical option to consider. Short- and medium-term results show that the benefit of ESG placement over the surgical approach is a lower 30-day mortality and paraplegia rate; and shorter operative time, ICU stay, and hospital stay.
PMCID: PMC3382300  PMID: 23074469
14.  Critical Roles of Orthopaedic Surgeon Leadership in Healthcare Systems to Improve Orthopaedic Surgical Patient Safety 
The prevention of medical and surgical harm remains an important public health problem despite increased awareness and implementation of safety programs. Successful introduction and maintenance of surgical safety programs require both surgeon leadership and collaborative surgeon-hospital alignment. Documentation of success of such surgical safety programs in orthopaedic practice is limited.
We describe the scope of orthopaedic surgical patient safety issues, define critical elements of orthopaedic surgical safety, and outline leadership roles for orthopaedic surgeons needed to establish and sustain a culture of safety in contemporary healthcare systems.
We identified the most common causes of preventable surgical harm based on adverse and sentinel surgical events reported to The Joint Commission. A comprehensive literature review through a MEDLINE® database search (January 1982 through April 2012) to identify pertinent orthopaedic surgical safety articles found 14 articles. Where gaps in orthopaedic literature were identified, the review was supplemented by 22 nonorthopaedic surgical references. Our final review included 36 articles.
Six important surgical safety program elements needed to eliminate preventable surgical harm were identified: (1) effective surgical team communication, (2) proper informed consent, (3) implementation and regular use of surgical checklists, (4) proper surgical site/procedure identification, (5) reduction of surgical team distractions, and (6) routine surgical data collection and analysis to improve the safety and quality of surgical patient care.
Successful surgical safety programs require a culture of safety supported by all six key surgical safety program elements, active surgeon champions, and collaborative hospital and/or administrative support designed to enhance surgical safety and improve surgical patient outcomes. Further research measuring improvements from such surgical safety systems in orthopaedic care is needed.
PMCID: PMC3706678  PMID: 23224770
15.  The horror of wrong-site surgery continues: report of two cases in a regional trauma centre in Nigeria 
Wrong- site surgeries are iatrogenic errors encountered in the course of surgical patient management. Despite the ‘never do harm’ pledge in the ‘Hippocratic Oath’ drafted in 5th century BC, man is after all human, with this limitation manifesting in the physician’s art despite his best intention. Beyond the catastrophic consequences of wrong- site surgery on the patient and surgeon, and the opprobrium on the art of medicine, the incidents have come to be regarded as a quality-of-care indicator. Orthopaedic surgery is a specialty with a preponderance of this phenomenon and the attendant medico-legal issues relating to malpractice claims. Consequently the specialty had pioneered institutional initiatives at preventing these ‘friendly-fires’. Awareness and implementation of these initiatives however remain low in many parts of the world, hampered by a culture of denial and shame.
Case presentation
This report presents two cases of wrong-site surgery following trauma from road-traffic accident. The first case was a closed reduction of the ‘wrong’ dislocated hip in the trauma/emergency unit under the care of senior residents, while the second case was attempted wrong-site surgery on the right leg in a patient with fracture of the left tibia, in conjunction with bilateral femoral fracture and right radio-ulnar fracture; by an experienced Chief Consultant Orthopaedic Surgeon operating elective list. Both are orthopaedic cases, each with some trauma to both lower extremeties. Neither of the cases was formally mentioned anywhere in clinical discourse in the hospital, much less a formal report or audit.
There was no formal, institutionalized process to prevent wrong-site surgery in the health institution and this could have been largely responsible for these incidents. An open, mandatory process of reporting such incidents for relevant audit and awareness is necessary, as a mechanism for prevention rather than blame or punishment.
PMCID: PMC4312470  PMID: 25642288
Wrong- site surgery; Medical errors; Patient safety; “Universal protocol”; “WHO surgical safety checklist”
16.  Incidence and causes of mortality following acute orthopaedic and trauma admissions. 
PURPOSE: To analyse the incidence and causes of mortality of orthopaedic and trauma patients. METHODS: Between March 1995 and October 2000, there were 594 (404 females) in-patient deaths (2.8%) with a mean age of 82.14 years (range, 21-102 years) out of 21,122 acute admissions. The cause of death and details of the acute episode were collected from the hospital records, death certificates and postmortem examinations. Data collected were computerised and analysed using the Astute statistical package, University of Leeds. RESULTS: The most common primary diagnosis on admission was fracture neck of femur 392 (69.1%; P = 0.001). In total, 443 (78.1%) patients underwent surgical intervention of their injuries prior to mortality with 21 patients (4.7%) dying on the same day of the operation. The mean number of days between the initial surgical intervention and death was 22.3 days (range, 0-154 days). Of the patients who were treated non-operatively, 124 died due to poor medical condition (4 [3.2%] died within 24 h, 66 [51.6%] died within the first week and the rest died thereafter). In the death certificate, the most common primary cause of death recorded in the group of patients of 64 years of age and below was cancer followed by multi-organ failure. In the age group of 65 years and above, the most common primary cause of mortality was pneumonia followed by heart failure and myocardial infarction. CONCLUSIONS: In orthopaedic and trauma patients below the age of 65 years, the most common cause of death appears to be cancer followed by multiple system organ failure; in the elderly, pneumonia predominates followed by heart failure and myocardial infarction. Proximal femoral fractures accounted for 70% of the deaths.
PMCID: PMC1964185  PMID: 15140297
17.  Two Hundred Cases of Paralytic Foot Stabilization after the Method of Hoke 
Dr. Oscar Lee Miller was born on a farm in Franklin County, in northeast Georgia [6]. He obtained a teachers’ certificate and taught school several years after high school before he attended the University of Georgia and then graduated from the Atlanta College of Physicians and Surgeons (now Emory University School of Medicine) in 1912. He took postgraduate training in Atlanta, working with Dr. Michael Hoke (whose name is associated with hindfoot arthrodesis). He entered military service in 1917, then returned to private practice after the armistice. As with other first Presidents of the AAOS, foreign experience was important, and in 1921 he visited Sir Robert Jones and other British surgeons. Upon returning he moved to Gastonia, North Carolina and helped develop the North Carolina Orthopaedic Hospital, an institution focusing on crippled children. In 1923, he opened an office which eventually became the Miller Clinic in nearby Charlotte. (The Miller Clinic and Charlotte Orthopedic Specialists merged in 2005 to create OrthoCarolina.)
Dr. Miller was active in the AOA as well as the AAOS, and was a member of the Argentine Surgical Association. He became President of the AAOS in January, 1942, only days after the bombing of Pearl Harbor. In his Presidential address he emphasized the importance of the care of crippled children and urged a strong relationship with the Latin American orthopaedic community [1]. He served as Chair of a committee that created the Inter-American Orthopaedic Fellowship Program, for Latin American surgeons to visit training centers in the US. He also urged the AAOS to develop a library “as a repository for all pertinent records.” The Executive Committee outlined a program in June, 1941, to present a “motion picture exhibit,” a feature of the meeting which subsequently became the Instructional Course Lecture [2]. Under his leadership at that meeting, the AAOS passed a resolution regarding support of the country during the war years: “It is the desire of the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons to offer its wholehearted support to our Country in this serious emergency.” A telegram with the resolution was sent to the President of the United States.
Miller had a lasting interest in foot surgery, undoubtedly influenced by Hoke. We reprint here Miller’s report of Hoke’s triple arthrodesis for paralytic feet [3]. Astonishingly, Miller states this was the only operation performed for paralytic feet in his clinic over a three-year period, yet he reported 200 cases in this short time; obviously the number of polio patients at the time was devastating. Among these 200 cases, 121 were of the “clubfoot type,” 62 had pes cavus (on which he wrote in 1927 [4]), and 17 pes calcaneus (on which he wrote in 1936 [5]). Miller reports eight cases of flail feet (although it is unclear whether these are additional cases, or fall within one of the three categories since the numbers of those categories add to 200). His focus is to describe the basic operations with indications for supplemental procedures including tendon transfers. As was often common practice in describing procedures at the time, he did not report the followup results and did not provide references [3]. Oscar Lee Miller, MD is shown. Photograph is reproduced with permission and ©American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons. Fifty Years of Progress, 1983.
Heck CV. Commemorative Volume 1933–1983 Fifty Years of Progress. Chicago, IL: American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons; 1983.Heck CV. Fifty Years of Progress: In Recognition of the 50th Anniversary of the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons. Chicago, IL: American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons; 1983.Miller O. Two hundred cases of paralytic foot stabilization after the method of Hoke. J Bone Joint Surg Am. 1925;7:85–97.Miller O. A plastic foot operation. J Bone Joint Surg Am. 1927;9:84–91.Miller O. Surgical management of pes calcaneus. J Bone Joint Surg Am. 1936;18:169–172.Oscar Lee Miller 1887–1970. J Bone Joint Surg Am. 1971;53:400–401.
PMCID: PMC2505288  PMID: 18196377
18.  Does a Multidisciplinary Team Decrease Complications in Male Patients With Hip Fractures? 
Men with hip fractures are more likely to experience postoperative complications than women. The Medical Orthopaedic Trauma Service program at New York Presbyterian Hospital utilizes a multidisciplinary team approach to care for patients with hip fractures. The service is comanaged by an attending hospitalist and orthopaedic surgeon, with daily walking rounds attended by the hospitalist, orthopaedic resident, physical therapist, social worker, and a dedicated Medical Orthopaedic Trauma Service physician assistant.
We asked whether a multidisciplinary service for patients with hip fracture decreases (1) the incidence of inpatient complications in men, (2) the length of hospitalization, and (3) 90-day and 1-year mortality.
Patients and Methods
We retrospectively reviewed the charts of 74 men who had surgery for a nonperiprosthetic femoral neck, intertrochanteric, or subtrochanteric fracture for two 7-month periods before and after implementation of the Medical Orthopaedic Trauma Service. Age, ethnicity, comorbidity status, time to surgery, and postoperative complication data were collected. Regression modeling was used to evaluate the likelihood of postoperative complications, length of hospitalization, and 90-day and 1-year mortality while controlling for age, Charlson Comorbidity Index score, fracture type, and time from admission to surgery.
We observed a decrease in the likelihood of experiencing at least one inpatient complication in male patients after implementation of the Medical Orthopaedic Trauma Service (odds ratio = 0.264). There was no difference in length of hospitalization, 90-day mortality, or 1-year mortality.
Multidisciplinary collaboration for patients with hip fractures can decrease the likelihood of experiencing inpatient complications in male patients.
Level of Evidence
Level III, therapeutic study. See Guidelines for Authors for a complete description of levels of evidence.
PMCID: PMC3111804  PMID: 21350887
19.  Smartphone Apps for Orthopaedic Surgeons 
The use of smartphones and their associated applications (apps) provides new opportunities for physicians, and specifically orthopaedic surgeons, to integrate technology into clinical practice.
The purpose of this study was twofold: to review all apps specifically created for orthopaedic surgeons and to survey orthopaedic residents and surgeons in the United States to characterize the need for novel apps.
The five most popular smartphone app stores were searched for orthopaedic-related apps: Blackberry, iPhone, Android, Palm, and Windows. An Internet survey was sent to ACGME-accredited orthopaedic surgery departments to assess the level of smartphone use, app use, and desire for orthopaedic-related apps.
The database search revealed that iPhone and Android platforms had apps specifically created for orthopaedic surgery with a total of 61 and 13 apps, respectively. Among the apps reviewed, only one had greater than 100 reviews (mean, 27), and the majority of apps had very few reviews, including AAOS Now and AO Surgery Reference, apps published by the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons and AO Foundation, respectively. The national survey revealed that 84% of respondents (n = 476) have a smartphone, the majority (55%) have an iPhone, and that 53% of people with smartphones already use apps in clinical practice. Ninety-six percent of respondents who use apps reported they would like more orthopaedic apps and would pay an average of nearly $30 for useful apps. The four most requested categories of apps were textbook/reference, techniques/guides, OITE/board review, and billing/coding.
The use of smartphones and apps is prevalent among orthopaedic care providers in academic centers. However, few highly ranked apps specifically related to orthopaedic surgery are available, and the types of apps available do not appear to be the categories most desired by residents and surgeons.
PMCID: PMC3111786  PMID: 21547414
20.  Recurrent Dislocation of the Shoulder Joint 
Dr. Anthony F. DePalma is shown. Photograph provided with kind permission of the Art Committee of Thomas Jefferson University, Philadelphia, PA.
Dr. DePalma was the first editor of Clinical Orthopaedics and Related Research, established by the recently formed Association of Bone and Joint Surgeons. The idea of forming the Association of Bone and Joint surgeons had been conceived by Dr. Earl McBride of Oklahoma City in 1947, and organized by a group of twelve individuals (Drs. Earl McBride, Garrett Pipkin, Duncan McKeever, Judson Wilson, Fritz Teal, Louis Breck, Henry Louis Green, Howard Shorbe, Theodore Vinke, Paul Williams, Eugene Secord, and Frank Hand) [9]. The first organizational meeting was held in conjunction with the 1949 Annual Meeting of the AAOS [9] and the first annual meeting held April 1–2, 1949 in Oklahoma City. Drs. McBride and McKeever invited Dr. DePalma to attend that meeting and join the society. According to DePalma, “Even at this small gathering, there were whisperings of the need of another journal to provide an outlet for the many worthy papers written on clinical and basic science subjects” [7]. The decision to form a new journal was finalized in 1951, and Drs. DePalma and McBride signed a contract with J.B. Lippincott Company. Dr. DePalma was designated Editor-in-Chief, and the journal became a reality in 1953 with the publication of the first volume. From the outset he established the “symposium” as a unique feature, in which part of the articles were devoted to a particular topic. Dr. DePalma served as Editor for 13 years until 1966, when he resigned the position and recommended the appointment of Dr. Marshall R. Urist. At his retirement, Clinical Orthopaedics and Related Research was well established as a major journal.
Dr. Anthony F. DePalma was born in Philadelphia in 1904, the son of immigrants from Alberona in central Foggia, Italy [1]. He attended the University of Maryland for his premedical education, then Jefferson Medical College, from which he graduated in 1929. He then served a two-year internship (common at the time) at Philadelphia General Hospital. Jobs were scarce owing to the Depression, and he felt fortunate to obtain in 1931 a position as assistant surgeon at the Coaldale State Hospital, in Coaldale, Pennsylvania, a mining town. However, he became attracted to orthopaedics and looked for a preceptorship (postgraduate training in specialties was not well developed at this time before the establishments of Boards). In the fall of 1932, he was appointed as a preceptor at the New Jersey Orthopaedic Hospital, an extension of the New York Orthopaedic Hospital. In 1939 he acquired Board certification (the first board examination was offered in 1935 for a fee of $25.00 [2]) and was appointed to the NJOH staff [1].
Dr. DePalma volunteered for military service in 1942, and served first at the Parris Island Naval Hospital in South Carolina, then on the Rixey, a hospital ship. In addition to serving to evacuate casualties to New Zealand, his ship was involved in several of the Pacific island assaults (Guam, Leyte, Okinawa). In 1945, he was assigned to the Naval Hospital in Philadelphia [1].
On his return to Philadelphia, he contacted staff members at Jefferson Medical College, including the Chair, Dr. James Martin, and became good friends with Dr. Bruce Gill (a professor of Orthopaedics at the University of Pennsylvania, and one of the earliest Presidents of the AAOS). After he was discharged from the service, he joined the staff of the Department of Orthopaedic Surgery at Jefferson, where he remained the rest of his career. He succeeded Dr. Martin as Chair in 1950, a position he held until 1970 when he reached the mandatory retirement age of 65. He closed his practice and moved briefly to Pompano Beach, Florida, but the lure of academia proved too powerful, and in January, 1971, he accepted the offer to develop a Division of Orthopaedics at the New Jersey College of Medicine and became their Chair. He committed to a five-year period, and then again moved to Pompano Beach, only to take the Florida State Boards and open a private practice in 1977. His practice grew, and he continued that practice until 1983 at the age of nearly 79. Even then he continued to travel and lecture [1].
We reproduce here four of his many contributions on the shoulder. The first comes from his classic monograph, “Surgery of the Shoulder,” published by J. B. Lippincott in 1950 [2]. In this article he describes the evolutionary development of the shoulder, focusing on the distinction between various primates, and relates the anatomic changes to upright posture and prehensile requirements. The remaining three are journal articles related to frozen shoulder [1], recurrent dislocation [3], and surgical anatomy of the rotator cuff [6], three of the most common shoulder problems then and now. He documented the histologic inflammation and degeneration in various tissues including the coracohumeral ligaments, supraspinatus tendon, bursal wall, subscapularis musculotendinous junction, and biceps tendon. Thus, the problem was rather more global than localized. He emphasized, “Manipulation of frozen shoulders is a dangerous and futile procedure.” For recurrent dislocation he advocated the Magnuson procedure (transfer of the subscapularis tendon to the greater tuberosity) to create a musculotendinous sling. All but two of 23 patients he treated with this approach were satisfied with this relatively simple procedure. (Readers will note the absence of contemporary approaches to ascertain outcomes and satisfaction. The earliest outcome musculoskeletal measures were introduced in the 60s by Larson [11] and then by Harris [10], but these instruments were physician-generated and do not reflect the rather more rigorously validated patient-generated outcome measures we use today. Nonetheless, the approach used by Dr. DePalma reflected the best existing standards of reporting results.) Dr. DePalma’s classic article, “Surgical Anatomy of the Rotator Cuff and the Natural History of Degenerative Periarthritis,” [6] reflected his literature review and dissections of 96 shoulders from 50 individuals “unaware of any (shoulder) disability” and mostly over the age of 40. By the fifth decade, most specimens began to show signs of rotator cuff tearing and he found complete tears in nine specimens from “the late decades.” He concluded,
“Based on the…observations, one can reasonably construct the natural history of periarthritis of the shoulder. It is apparent that aging is an important etiological factor, and with aging certain changes take place in the connective tissue elements of the musculotendinous cuff…it is also apparent that in slowly developing lesions of this nature compensating adjustments in the mechanics of the joint take place so that severe alterations in the mechanics of the joint do not appear. However, one must admit that such a joint is very vulnerable and, if subjected to minor trauma, the existing degenerative lesion would be extended and aggravated.”
Thus, he clearly defined the benign effects of rotator cuff tear in many aging individuals, but also the potential to create substantial pain and disability.
Dr. DePalma was a prolific researcher and writer. In addition to his “Surgery of the Shoulder,” he wrote three other books, “Diseases of the Knee: Management in Medicine and Surgery” (published by J.B. Lippincott in 1954) [4], “The Management of Fractures and Dislocations” (a large and comprehensive two volume work published by W.B. Saunders in 1959, and going through 5 reprintings) [5], and “The Intervertebral Disc” (published by W.B. Saunders in 1970, and written with his colleague, Dr. Richard Rothman) [8]. PubMed lists 62 articles he published from 1948 until 1992.
We wish to pay tribute to Dr. DePalma for his vision in establishing Clinical Orthopaedics and Related Research as a unique journal and for his many contributions to orthopaedic surgery.
DePalma A. Loss of scapulohumeral motion (frozen shoulder). Ann Surg. 1952;135:193–204.DePalma AF. Origin and comparative anatomy of the pectoral limb. In: DePalma AF, ed. Surgery of the Shoulder. Philadelphia: JB Lippincott; 1950:1–14.DePalma AF. Recurrent dislocation of the shoulder joint. Ann Surg. 1950;132:1052–1065.DePalma AF. Diseases of the Knee: Management in Medicine and Surgery. Philadelphia, PA: JB Lippincott Company; 1954.DePalma AF. The Management of Fractures and Dislocations—An Atlas. Philadelphia: WB Saunders Company; 1959.DePalma AF. Surgical anatomy of the rotator cuff and the natural history of degenerative periarthritis. Surg Clin North Am. 1963;43:1507–1520.DePalma AF. A lifetime of devotion to the Janus of orthopedics. Bridging the gap between the clinic and laboratory. Clin Orthop Relat Res. 1991;265:146–169.DePalma AF, Rothman RH. The Intervertebral Disc. Philadelphia: WB Saunders Company; 1970.Derkash RS. History of the Association of Bone and Joint Surgeons. Clin Orthop Relat Res. 1997;337:306–309.Harris WH. Traumatic arthritis of the hip after dislocation and acetabular fractures: treatment by mold arthroplasty. An end-result study using a new method of result evaluation. J Bone Joint Surg Am. 1969;51:737–755.Larson CB. Rating scale for hip disabilities. Clin Orthop Relat Res. 1963;31:85–93.
PMCID: PMC2505210  PMID: 18264840
21.  Fractures of the Femur. End Results* 
Melvin Starkey Henderson was born in St. Paul, Minnesota and received his early schooling there and in Winnipeg, Manitoba [4]. He received his undergraduate and medical degrees from the University of Toronto. He then interned in the City and County Hospital in his home town of St. Paul, and in 1907 went to work as an assistant with the founders of the recently formed Mayo Clinic, William James and Charles Horace Mayo. To further his training and evidently at the suggestion of the Mayo brothers, in 1911 Dr. Henderson went abroad to work under Sir Robert Jones in Liverpool and then Sir Harold Stiles in Edinburgh. He returned to organize and direct the section of orthopaedic surgery at the Mayo Clinic and spent his entire professional career there.
Dr. Henderson was involved in many national and international organizations, and was a founder and first President of the American Board of Orthopaedic Surgeons when it was established at the Kahler Hotel in Rochester, Minnesota, on June 5, 1934, after several previous organizational meetings [5]. Wickstrom [5], describing the organization of the Board, commented, “After all, in the opinion of the East coast establishment, Dr. Henderson (who was born in St. Paul, was educated in Canada, and had his beginning with the Mayo brothers as a clinical assistant riding a bicycle around Rochester, making house calls on the Mayo brothers’ patients) was a mere upstart.” However, at the time Dr. Henderson was 50 years old and had been President of the American Orthopaedic Association and Clinical Orthopaedic Society, as well as prominent in the American Medical Association and other organizations. Dr. Henderson was one of three of the first 15 AAOS Presidents (the other two being Drs. Philip D. Wilson and John C. Wilson, Sr.) who had a son who succeeded him as President. He was greatly respected for his organizational abilities, particularly at the Board, whose objectives were uncertain in the beginning and required sage guidance [5].
We reproduce here an article in which Dr. Henderson reviewed 222 consecutive cases of femur fractures, 165 of which had been referred late because of complications of fractures treated elsewhere (clearly, by 1921, the Mayo Clinic was a referral source for others) [2]. Followup could not have been easy at a time when patients often came from a distance and travel was difficult, but it was described when available and in 40 of the 57 recent fractures, Henderson reported 87.5% were “cured.” Of the 165 old fractures, he was able to trace 143 (87%), a remarkable figure even today. He reported 90% of the femoral neck fractures were cured by various sorts of nonsurgical (6 patients) or surgical reconstructive (39 patients) means; 85% of the femoral shaft fractures were cured by either nonoperative (29 patients) or operative (69 patients) means. While he did not use the sort of outcomes we use today (the earliest orthopaedic outcome instruments were not introduced for four more decades: by Carroll B. Larson in 1963 [3] and William H. Harris in 1969 [1]), we can only presume Henderson meant union was achieved when patients were “cured” since nonunion or malunion would not have likely produced good results. That being the case, his rate of union was remarkable and would be enviable today in these sometimes difficult situations, attesting to his understanding of the individual situations and his skills. Melvin S. Henderson, MD is shown. Photograph is reproduced with permission and ©American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons. Fifty Years of Progress, 1983.
Harris WH. Traumatic arthritis of the hip after dislocation and acetabular fractures: treatment by mold arthroplasty: an end-result study using a new method of result evaluation. J Bone Joint Surg Am. 1969;51:737–755.Henderson MS. Fractures of the femur: end results. J Bone Joint Surg Am. 1921;3:520–528.Larson CB. Rating scale for hip disabilities. Clin Orthop Relat Res. 1963;31:85–93.Mostofi SB. Who's Who in Orthopedics. London, UK: Springer; 2005.Wickstrom JK. Fifty years of the American Board of Orthopaedic Surgery: 1934. Clin Orthop Relat Res. 1990;257:3–10.
PMCID: PMC2505283  PMID: 18196372
22.  Infirmity and Injury Complexity are Risk Factors for Surgical-site Infection after Operative Fracture Care 
Orthopaedic surgical-site infections prolong hospital stays, double rehospitalization rates, and increase healthcare costs. Additionally, patients with orthopaedic surgical-site infections (SSI) have substantially greater physical limitations and reductions in their health-related quality of life. However, the risk factors for SSI after operative fracture care are unclear.
We determined the incidence and quantified modifiable and nonmodifiable risk factors for SSIs in patients with orthopaedic trauma undergoing surgery.
Patients and Methods
We retrospectively indentified, from our prospective trauma database and billing records, 1611 patients who underwent 1783 trauma-related procedures between 2006 and 2008. Medical records were reviewed and demographics, surgery-specific data, and whether the patients had an SSI were recorded. We determined which if any variables predicted SSI.
Six factors independently predicted SSI: (1) the use of a drain, OR 2.3, 95% CI (1.3–3.8); (2) number of operations OR 3.4, 95% CI (2.0–6.0); (3) diabetes, OR 2.1, 95% CI (1.2–3.8); (4) congestive heart failure (CHF), OR 2.8, 95% CI (1.3–6.5); (5) site of injury tibial shaft/plateau, OR 2.3, 95% CI (1.3–4.2); and (6) site of injury, elbow, OR 2.2, 95% CI (1.1–4.7).
The risk factors for SSIs after skeletal trauma are most strongly determined by nonmodifiable factors: patient infirmity (diabetes and heart failure) and injury complexity (site of injury, number of operations, use of a drain).
Level of Evidence
Level II, prognostic study. See the Guideline for Authors for a complete description of levels of evidence.
PMCID: PMC3148392  PMID: 21161736
23.  Infirmity and Injury Complexity are Risk Factors for Surgical-site Infection after Operative Fracture Care 
Orthopaedic surgical-site infections prolong hospital stays, double rehospitalization rates, and increase healthcare costs. Additionally, patients with orthopaedic surgical-site infections (SSI) have substantially greater physical limitations and reductions in their health-related quality of life. However, the risk factors for SSI after operative fracture care are unclear.
We determined the incidence and quantified modifiable and nonmodifiable risk factors for SSIs in patients with orthopaedic trauma undergoing surgery.
Patients and Methods
We retrospectively indentified, from our prospective trauma database and billing records, 1611 patients who underwent 1783 trauma-related procedures between 2006 and 2008. Medical records were reviewed and demographics, surgery-specific data, and whether the patients had an SSI were recorded. We determined which if any variables predicted SSI.
Six factors independently predicted SSI: (1) the use of a drain, OR 2.3, 95% CI (1.3–3.8); (2) number of operations OR 3.4, 95% CI (2.0–6.0); (3) diabetes, OR 2.1, 95% CI (1.2–3.8); (4) congestive heart failure (CHF), OR 2.8, 95% CI (1.3–6.5); (5) site of injury tibial shaft/plateau, OR 2.3, 95% CI (1.3–4.2); and (6) site of injury, elbow, OR 2.2, 95% CI (1.1–4.7).
The risk factors for SSIs after skeletal trauma are most strongly determined by nonmodifiable factors: patient infirmity (diabetes and heart failure) and injury complexity (site of injury, number of operations, use of a drain).
Level of Evidence
Level II, prognostic study. See the Guideline for Authors for a complete description of levels of evidence.
PMCID: PMC3148392  PMID: 21161736
24.  Critical Incident Reporting in Anaesthesia: A Prospective Internal Audit 
Indian Journal of Anaesthesia  2009;53(4):425-433.
Critical incident monitoring is useful in detecting new problems, identifying ‘near misses’ and analyzing factors or events leading to mishaps, which can be instructive for trainees. This study was aimed at investigating potential risk factors and analyze events leading to peri-operative critical incidents in order to develop a critical incident reporting system. We conducted a one year prospective analysis of voluntarily reported 24- hour-perioperative critical incidents, occurring in patients subjected to anaesthesia. During a one year period from December 2006 to December 2007, 14,134 anaesthetics were administered and 112(0.79%) critical incidents were reported with complete recovery in 71.42%(n=80) and mortality in 28.57% (n=32) cases. Incidents occurred maximally in 0-10 years age (23.21%), ASA 1(61.61%), in general surgery patients (43.75%), undergoing emergency surgery (52.46%) and during day time (75.89%). Incidence was more in the operating theatre (77.68%), during maintenance (32.04%) and post-operative phase (25.89%) and in patients who received general anaesthesia (75.89%). Critical incidents occurred clue to factors related to anaesthesia (42.85%), patient (37.50%) and surgery (16.96%). Among anaesthesia related critical incidents (42.85% n=48/112), respiratory events were maximum (66.66%) mainly at induction (37.5%) and emergence (43.75%), and factors responsible were human error (85.41%), pharmacological factors (10.41%) and equipment error (4.17%). Incidence of mortality was 22.6 per 10, 000 anaesthetics (32/14,314), mostly attributable to risk factors in patient (59.38%) as compared to anaesthesia (25%) and surgery (9.38%). There were 8 anaesthesia related deaths (5.6 per 10, 000 anaesthetics) where human error (75%) attributed to lack of judgment (67.50%) was an important causative factor. We conclude that critical incident reporting system may be a valuable part of quality assurance to develop policies to prevent recurrence and enhance patient safety measures.
PMCID: PMC2894496  PMID: 20640204
Critical incidents; Critical incident reporting; Human error; Mortality; Anaesthesia related mortality
25.  The Use of Sulfathiazole in the Treatment of Subacute and Chronic Osteomyelitis* 
Frank Drake Dickson was born in 1882, in Pittsburgh, PA. His paternal grandfather had opened the first soft coal mine in the western part of Pennsylvania and was one of the builders of the Pennsylvania Railroad [4]. He obtained an undergraduate degree from the University of Pennsylvania in 1902, and his MD degree in 1905. He then studied abroad for a year and a half, and subsequently took an internship in Philadelphia. He became a Professor of Orthopaedic Surgery at the University of Pennsylvania in 1912. In 1916, Dr. Dickson was offered a position at the new Christian Church Hospital in Kansas City. He stated, “My intention was to spend about two years in Kansas City, then return to Philadelphia” [4]. He was, however, a captain in the military reserve and when the United States entered WW I, he resigned his position at the hospital and his professorship at the University of Kansas Medical School, and went to England with the unit that Dr. Joel Goldthwait (Boston) had organized. He was transferred to France in late 1917. After the war he decided to return to Kansas City to resume his work at the University of Kansas and the Christian Church Hospital where he met Dr. Rex Diveley (who became the 15th President of the AAOS). The two later (1927) established the Dickson-Diveley Clinic and the following year moved their practice to the new St. Luke’s Hospital. He continued limited practice and served as a consultant at the Clinic up until the time of his death.
Dr. Dickson was one of eight individuals at the business meeting of the Clinical Orthopaedic Society, October 30, 1931, when the first concrete steps toward organizing the AAOS were taken [2]. (The Clinical Orthopaedic Society had originally been established as a regional association in 1912 as the Central States Orthopaedic Club with a name change in 1923 to the Clinical Orthopaedic Society [1].) Dr. Dickson was involved in a number of organizations, and was President not only of the AAOS but also the AOA in 1940 (he later served as the AOA treasurer in 1951) and the Clinical Orthopaedic Society [4], the two organizations which founded the AAOS.
The article we reproduce here illustrates an early use of sulfathiazole to treat chronic osteomyelitis, coauthored with Dr. Rex Diveley [3]. They outline the four traditional treatments of osteomyelitis: débridement and packing to provide drainage, débridement and treatment with maggots, débridement and irrigation with Dakin’s solution, and the Orr method of débridement, packing with Vaseline gauze, and immobilization in plaster for long periods. Key and his colleagues [5], about the same time, had advocated the use of sulfanilamide in contaminated wounds. Dickson and Diveley decided to try sulfathiazole because it was more effective against staphylococcus (which at the time was the infective organism 90% of the time). (The sulfonamides had been synthesized in the 1930s in Germany, with the first publication in 1935. Hundreds of manufacturers quickly developed products, including Elixir Sulfonamide, which lead to the deaths of at least 100 people from ethylene glycol in the product. The outrage led to the Federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act in 1938, which greatly expanded the authority of the FDA [6].) Their approach was based upon a concentration shown by Key et al. [5] to kill any bacteria. Their 22 patients were treated by preoperative sulfathiazole by mouth for three days prior to surgery (monitoring blood concentrations from 1 to 13 milligrams per 100 cubic centimeters), then thorough débridement (after injecting the sinuses with methylene blue to identify their extent), and the application of 1 to 2 grams of sulfathiazole powder to the wound using a nasal insufflator, followed by firm dressings and casting. The first patient was treated August 1, 1940, and the report (published in July, 1941) described the use of the approach in 22 patients, 18 of which had hematogenous osteomylitic foci. Fourteen of the 18 patients healed within 23 days, and two were too recent to know the results. This was a remarkable outcome for the time. (Equally remarkable is publication in July of 1941, when the series began only in August of the previous year.) Frank Drake Dickson, MD is shown. Photograph is reproduced with permission and ©American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons. Fifty Years of Progress, 1983.
About the COS. 2007. Clinical Orthopaedic Society Web site. Available at: Accessed August 31, 2007.Brown T. The American Orthopaedic Association: A Centennial History. Chicago, IL: The American Orthopaedic Association; 1987.Dickson FD, Diveley RL. The use of sulfathiazole in the treatment of subacute and chronic osteomyelitis. J Bone Joint Surg Am. 1941;23:516–512.Dr. Frank Dickson dies at age of 81. The Kansas City Times, Mo. January 20, 1964;Obituaries.Key JA, Frankel CJ, Burford TH. The local use of sulfanilamide in various tissues. J Bone Joint Surg Am. 1940;22:952–958.Sulfonamide (medicine). 2007. Wikipedia. Available at: Accessed August 31, 2007.
PMCID: PMC2505282  PMID: 18196371

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