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Diagnostic Errors Found in 1 of 4 ICU Patient Deaths

Cheryl Clark, for HealthLeaders Media, August 28, 2012

"Checklist tools help democratize knowledge and close the information gap in the ICU," Winters says.

Another source of error comes with ICU alarm fatigue, and the problem of distractions and noise.

Winters summed up saying that those who care for patients in the ICU need diagnostic help perhaps the most. Their patients are those who are most vulnerable, and are usually the least capable of participating in the diagnostic process because they are often intubated, sedated or unconscious.

"The fact that the patient can't tell you their symptoms contributes to this problem," he says.

Cheryl Clark is senior quality editor and California correspondent for HealthLeaders Media. She is a member of the Association of Health Care Journalists.
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