A Root Cause Analysis

Healthcare facilities that are accredited by Joint Commission are required after a sentinel event to conduct a root cause analysis (RCA). A root cause analysis is conducted to determine the cause or factors that contributed to the sentinel event. A few things must be asked in the RCA such as who, what, where, why and how in order to identify the cause. After the cause of the sentinel event is determined and a corrective action plan has been put in place a failure mode and effects analysis (FMEA) could be conducted to reduce the likelihood that it should happen again.The scenarioA 67 year old male (Mr. B) was brought into the emergency room for pain to left leg and left hip. The injury occurred when the patient had a fall due to him losing his balance after tripping over his dog. The hospital is a 60 bed rural hospital located in Mr. B’s hometown. Mr. B was brought in by his son and neighbor.Nurse J. has informed the ED physician which he came to his bedside for evaluation.Upon evaluation the physician decided that Mr. B needed to have a reduction of his left hip, due to the dislocation and will require a conscious sedation. Mr. B requires multiple doses of medication to achieve the desired sedation affect for the reduction. Once the reduction was successful Mr. B is left with son in the room where a full set of vitals were not continuously monitored and goes into respiratory failure which lead to the death of Mr. B. Staffing on this day is the day of the event consisted of a secretary, emergency department physician (Dr. T), and two nurses (one RN and one LPN). A respiratory therapist is in house and available as needed in this six bed ED and sixty
bed hospital.EventsAt 3:30pm- Mr. B was taken to ED for left leg and left hip pain from a fall. Pain is a 10/10 vitals include 120/80 blood pressure (BP), 88 heart rate (HR) and regular, 98.6 temperature, (T), 32 respirations (R), 175 lbs.. At 4:05pm- Mr. B was given Diazepam 5mg IVP which had no affect after 5min. At 4:10pm- Dr. T orders 2mg of hydromorphone to be given to Mr. B. At 4:15pm- Mr. B was given 2mg of hydromorphone IVP.At 4:20pm- Dr. T is not satisfied with level of sedation and orders Mr. B to be given 2mg of hydromorphone, and diazepam 5mg IVP. At 4:25pm- Mr. B appears to be sedated and reduction of his (L) hip takes place. The patient remains sedated and appears to have tolerated the procedure. The procedures concludes at 4:30pm. No distress is noted, patient is placed on monitor for blood pressure to be taken every 5 minutes along with pulse oximeter but no supplemental oxygen or ECG leads (monitors cardiac rhythm and respirations) was placed on patient at this time. At 4:30pm- Nurse J allows Mr. B’s son to remain in the room with him as he is being monitor by blood pressure machine only. Nurse J leaves the room. At 4:35pm- Mr. B vitals are BP 110/62, O2 sat is 92% still no oxygen or ECG leads are on patient at this time. EMS is transporting a patient in respiratory distress, lobby is beginning to get congested.LPN and Nurse J. in the process of discharging 2 patients and are checking in the patient that EMS has transported in. LPN enters Mr. B’s room and resets his alarming monitor that was showing a sat of 85% and restarts the B/P to recycle. LPN does not supply oxygen and does not alert Nurse J at this time. Management is not notified that patient acuity and patient load is increasing. Nurse J is now fully engaged with the emergency care of the respiratory distress patient. At 4:43pm- Mr. B’s son comes out of room and informs the nurse that the monitor is alarming with vitas of B/P 58/80 O2 of 79%. The patient has no palpable pulse and is not breathing. A STAT code is called and the son is taken to the waiting room.The code teams arrives places Mr. B on cardiac monitor where he is in ventricular fibrillation and the team begins resuscitative efforts. CPR is started and the patient is intubated. Mr. B is defibrillated and reversal agents, vasopressors and IV were started. At 5:13pm- After 30 min of interventions the ECG returns to a normal sinus rhythm with Mr. B’s B/P being 110/70. The patient is completely dependent on the ventilator, his pupils are fixed and dilated and there is no spontaneous movements. The family as asked for the patient to be transferred out to a tertiary facility for further advanced care.OutcomeSeven Days later Mr. B has died. The family had requested that life-support be removed after brain death had been determined by EEG’s. This is a sentinel event.Investigation of sentinel event should begin with a Team and method of investigation. Interdisciplinary team included in the RCA should include the Director of Nurses, Nursing Supervisor, Risk management, Nursing Coordinator, and Manager of the department. Once the team is put together the RCA should be started. The team should set up interviews with all staff that was involved and present in the department the day the sentinel event happened. A complete chart review should be conducted by team.The policies on conscious sedation, staffing of department, and standardized work should be reviewed. When the cause is identified a corrective action plan should be conducted. The corrective action plan will allow a series of projects can be put in place to help create or change polices if needed. The new or changed polices should be put into education models to teach to current and new staff as needed.The Root Cause AnalysisCausative factors- (why it happened) determined causeIndividual’s cause factorsNurse J did not follow procedure for conscious sedation. The patient was not placed on continuous B/P, ECG, and pulse oximeter throughout the procedure. Respiratory Therapist was not informed of the conscious sedation. LPN did not address low o2 saturation of 85% between the 4:35pm-4:43pm. Dr. T did not take in account of the patient’s weight and chronic pain medication use. Nurse J did not question the medication that Dr. T ordered.Team’s cause factorsManagement was not called and informed of staffing needs and acuity of patients. Back up staff was not called in to help when acuity and patient load had increased. Commination between Nurses and Dr. T were not present when the patient began to decompensate.Management /Organizational cause factorsUnsafe Staffing at ED. There was not enough staff present to safely manage emergencies in the ED. RCA Findings:Errors and/or Hazards1. Per protocol the patient was not hooked up to the proper monitoring equipment at the bedside. The facility procedure police called for continuous B/P ECG, and pulse oximetry during and after procedure until patient meet the discharge criteria. The nurse should have remained with patient during the recovery period. Crash cart with defibrillator was not present during the procedure nor was the proper reversal agents that could reverse the medication given for sedation. 2. Nursing staff communication was very poor. LPN did not notify Nurse J or ED physician when the patient’s o2 saturation dropped down to 85%. Oxygen was not placed on patient when O2 saturation dropped which led to respiratory failure causing the patient to code and eventually led to Mr. B’s death.