Mishaps in A & E

At least 12 per cent of people attending an Emergencies department at a Spanish hospital suffer some type of mishap.

In 35 per cent of cases this is caused by errors during medical tests, 27 per cent are nursing-related and 24 per cent are caused by incorrectly prescribed or applied medication 

At least 70 per cent of mishaps could be prevented with better clinical practices, found a study of A & E departments (EVADUR).

A further 1.4 per cent of people died, found the study which examined the case histories of 3,854 emergency patients at 21 Spanish hospitals.

Twelve per cent suffered what the study termed “an adverse event” and in 54.8 per cent of cases, this harmed the patient.   Forty-three per cent of incidents were either not apparent or not detected until after patients was discharged from hospital.

The most common profile of a person likely to suffer an adverse event after emergency hospital treatment is approximately 60 years old and already suffering from a chronic disorder, the study revealed.  The most likely complication is likely to be infection, non-serious injury or a worsening of the ailment that required emergency treatment in the first place.

Friday is the most hectic day for A & E in the hospitals studied, and Tuesday the quietest.   Busiest times are between 8am and 4pm and the slackest from 4pm until midnight. Most adverse incidents occur when A & E is busiest but medical complexity is also responsible, as are medical staff’s work schedules.

A & E attended than 26 million patients a year in 2008, making this the most-used health service after primary care.




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