Indeed, Patient Safety has emerged as a Distinct Healthcare | 90102

Journal of Clinical Nursing and Practice


Indeed, Patient Safety has emerged as a Distinct Healthcare Discipline Supported by an Immature yet Developing Scientific Framework

Carolynn Thomas

Patient safety is a discipline that emphasizes safety in health care through the prevention, reduction, reporting and analysis of error and other types of unnecessary harm that often lead to adverse patient events. The frequency and magnitude of avoidable adverse events, often known as patient safety incidents, experienced by patients was not well known until the 1990s, when multiple countries reported significant numbers of patients harmed and killed by medical errors. Recognizing that healthcare errors impact 1 in every 10 patients around the world, the World Health Organization (WHO) calls patient safety an endemic concern. Millennia ago, Hippocrates recognized the potential for injuries that arise from the well-intentioned actions of healers. Greek healers in the 4th century BC drafted the Hippocratic Oath and pledged to "prescribe regimens for the good of my patients according to my ability and my judgment and never do harm to anyone."[4] Since then, the directive premium non nocere ("first do no harm") has become a central tenet for contemporary medicine. However, despite an increasing emphasis on the scientific basis of medical practice in Europe and the United States in the late 19th century, data on adverse outcomes were hard to come by and the various studies commissioned collected mostly anecdotal events. In the United States, the public and the medical specialty of anesthesia were shocked in April 1982 by the ABC television program 20/20 entitled The Deep Sleep. Presenting accounts of anesthetic accidents, the producers stated that, every year, 6,000 Americans die or suffer brain damage related to these mishaps.