Analysis of surgical mortalities using the fishbone model for quality improvement in surgical disciplines

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Background: The healthcare industry is complex and prone to the occurrence of preventable patient safety incidents. Most serious patient safety events in surgery are preventable. Aim: This study was conducted to determine the rate of occurrence of preventable mortalities and to use the fishbone model to establish the main contributing factors. Methods: We reviewed the records of patients who died following admission to the surgical wards. Data regarding their demography, diagnosis, acuity, comorbidities, categorization of death and contributing factors were extracted from the Research Electronic Data Capture (REDCap) database. Factors which contributed to preventable and potentially preventable mortalities were collated. The fishbone model was used for root cause analysis. The study received prior ethical clearance (M190122). Results: Records of 859 mortalities were found, of which 65.7% (564/859) were males. The median age of the patients who died was 49 years (IQR: 33–64 years). The median length of hospital stay before death was three days (IQR: 1–11 days). Twenty-four percent (24.1%) of the deaths were from gastrointestinal (GIT) emergencies, 18.4% followed head injury and 17.0% from GIT cancers. Overall, 5.4% of the mortalities were preventable, and 41.1% were considered potentially preventable. The error of judgment and training issues accounted for 46% of mortalities. Conclusion: Most surgical mortalities involve males, and around 46% are either potentially preventable or preventable. The majority of the mortality were associated with GIT emergencies, head injury and advanced malignancies of the GIT. The leading contributing factors to preventable and potentially preventable mortalities were the error of judgment, inadequate training and shortage of resources.
Surgical mortalities, Surgical disciplines, Healthcare industry, Fishbone model
Moeng, M. S., & Luvhengo, T. E. (2022). Analysis of Surgical Mortalities Using the Fishbone Model for Quality Improvement in Surgical Disciplines. World journal of surgery, 46(5), 1006–1014.