The Joint Commission updates sentinel event statistics

The Joint Commission’s sentinel event statistics have been updated on the Web site. Since the sentinel event database was implemented in January 1995 through September 30, 2009, The Joint Commission has reviewed 6,428 sentinel events. A total of 6,567 patients were affected by these events, with 4,441, or 68 percent, resulting in patient death.

The 10 most frequently reported sentinel events are:

Type                                                     1/1/95-9/30/09       1/1/95-12/31/08         1/1/09-9/30/09

Wrong-site surgery                              867             741                     126

Suicide                                                  770             698                     72

Operative/post-operative complication 710             631                     79

Delay in treatment                                536             442                     94

Medication error                                    526             492                     34

Patient fall                                             406             341                     65

Unintended retention of foreign body* 309             212                     97

Assault, rape or homicide                      245             218                     27

Perinatal death or loss of function         201             175                     26

Patient death or injury in restraints       198             189                     9

* Added to reviewable events in June 2005; data represents events reviewed since that time.

(SOURCE: The Joint Commission online, http://jointcommission.org, October 21, 2009)