10 most common sentinel events of 2017

Unintended retention of a foreign body was the most frequently reported sentinel event for 2017, according to a recent report by The Joint Commission.

The Joint Commission defines a sentinel event as a patient safety event that results in death, permanent harm, severe temporary harm or intervention required to sustain life. The organization requires hospitals to conduct a root-cause analysis after a sentinel event occurs.

In March 2018, The Joint Commission updated its sentinel event statistics for 2017. The organization reviewed 805 reports of sentinel events reported during the 2016-17 calendar year.

Here are the 10 most frequently reported sentinel events for 2017, according to The Joint Commission:

1. Unintended retention of a foreign body — 116 reported
2. Fall — 114
3. Wrong-patient, wrong-site, wrong-procedure — 95
4. Suicide — 89
5. Delay in treatment — 66
6. Other unanticipated event, such as asphyxiation, burn, choking on food, drowning or being found unresponsive — 60
7. Criminal event — 37
8. Medication error — 32
9. Operative/postoperative complication — 19
10. Self-inflicted injury — 18

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