Review of Small Animal Emergency and Critical Care: Case Studies in Client Communication, Morbidity and Mortality by Powell, Rozanski and Rush
I would like to thank Wiley-Blackwell for giving me this opportunity to review this book. Their offer of a review copy was most generous. You can see their entire catalogue at www.wiley.com.
This book is being marketed to veterinarians but can be utilized by technicians as well. All 71 case studies teach a lesson, whether it be to double check your medicine calculation before administration, the importance of taking a proper and thorough history, to the necessity of complete and accurate communication between and among hospital personnel.
The contents are broken down into four parts: medical treatment errors, medical judgment errors, lessons in client communication, and communication issues between colleagues and hospital staff. Each case summary is only about 2-4 pages long, so each lesson can be taken in quickly. At the end of each case is a “Key Points” block which further highlights where things went wrong, how the error could have been prevented, and steps to take to avoid this happening in the future. All cases are factual, taken from morbidity and mortality rounds from animal hospitals throughout the U.S. The names have been changed to protect doctor-patient-owner confidentiality.
The case studies are presented in a way that both veterinarians and technicians will be able to understand. Treatment histories are clear, with patient stats and lab results included. Some cases are further illustrated by actual patient radiographs or ECG tracings.
As I read each case, I was amazed at the number of preventable complications described. It may be very easy for the reader to say that it would “never happen in MY hospital”, but the sad case is, that is not true. Mistakes can be made by anyone, regardless of their experience or level of education.
Some of the cases that made me cringe:
- The dog with neoplasia that had the wrong leg amputated
- The dog that died because it was given 15 mL instead of 1.5 mL of neostigmine
- The diabetic cat that could have died because the catheter was not checked and her dextrose extravasated into her SQ space
- Two patients being discharged at the same time, receiving each other’s medications
- Arguments and attitude between either RDVMs, or between an RDVM and a specialist, with the patient’s illness seemingly forgotten
- The dog that underwent an abdominal explore needlessly, due to the fact that a proper history was not taken upon presentation to the hospital
- The blocked cat whose bladder ruptured and the owner sued because the intern did not cover all the possible complications of the unblocking procedure
I strongly recommend this book by read by all veterinary personnel, whether you are a general practice doctor; a surgeon; or a technician who works either in the patient wards, takes radiographs, or simply takes a history. Each case will make you stop and think, and if you are truly dedicated to patient care, vow to work hard to NEVER make these mistakes on your watch.