In the March issue of Perspectives, The Joint Commission announced that it had added 2016’s sentinel event data to its database. There were 824 sentinel events reported to The Joint Commission between January 1 and December 31, 2016. And 81% of those events were submitted voluntarily by the organization that experienced them. The most often reported events were:
- Unintended retention of a foreign object – 120
- Wrong patient, wrong site, or wrong procedure – 104
- Falls – 92
- Suicide – 87
- Delay in treatment – 54
- Other unanticipated events – 47
- Operative/postoperative complication – 45
- Medication error – 33
- Criminal event – 32
- Perinatal death/injury – 23
Readers should note that less than 2% of all sentinel events are reported to The Joint Commission, and these numbers can’t show the actual frequency of these events.
“In 2016 the trend for the most frequently reported sentinel events continued to be unintended retention of foreign objects, ‘wrong-patient, wrong-site, wrong procedure’ events, patient falls, patient suicides, and delays in treatment,” wrote Gerard M. Castro, PhD, MPH, Joint Commission project director, in Perspectives. “These are not new problems to health care, which indicates that organizations continue to struggle with how to prevent them.