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Table 2 Clinical characteristics of unintended events

From: The nature and causes of unintended events reported at ten emergency departments

Characteristic unintended event No. of unintended events (%)
Time (N = 522)  
   Daytime (7 am to 5 pm) 227 (43.5)
   Evening and night (5 pm to 7 am) 178 (34.1)
   Unknown 117 (22.4)
Phase of care* (N = 522)  
   Medical examination/tests 186 (36.1)
   ED stay general 84 (16.3)
   Medication 48 (9.3)
   Treatment/intervention 35 (6.8)
   Transfer of patient 33 (6.4)
   Acute situation 26 (5.0)
   Hospitalisation 25 (4.9)
   Discharge 12 (2.3)
   Handover 9 (1.7)
   Triage 6 (1.2)
   Other 84 (16.3)
Consequences for patient (N = 522)  
   Yes (see 'outcome') 294 (56.3)
   No 211 (40.4)
   Unknown 17 (3.3)
Outcome* (N = 294)  
Inconvenience
e.g. long waiting time; high temperature in ED; patient mistakenly sent to another hospital
134 (45.1)
Suboptimal care
e.g. delay in starting antibiotics treatment; no surveillance of sick patient; patient mistakenly sent home
90 (30.3)
Extra intervention
e.g. extra blood withdrawal, unnecessary X-ray
25 (8.4)
Pain
e.g. no pain medication; missed bone fracture; no sling given after stitching of thumb wound.
19 (6.4)
Physical injury
e.g. decubitus ulcer; eyelid glued
10 (3.4)
Mental injury
e.g. wrong patient called back to hospital for positive test result; relatives informed about HIV of patient without patient's consent
6 (2.0)
Longer stay (> 24 hrs)
e.g. admission to a nursing department
2 (0.7)
   Unknown 20 (6.7)
  1. * For a number of unintended events, more than one category was selected.
  2. Only the groups of patients that experienced consequences of the unintended event.