Half of patients in intensive care receive suboptimal care

BMJ 2005; 330 doi: (Published 02 June 2005) Cite this as: BMJ 2005;330:1293

Several inaccuracies occurred in this News article by Zosia Kmietowicz (BMJ 330;2005:1101, 14 May). The report by the National Confidential Enquiry into Patient Outcome and Death (NCEPOD) on which the article was based was at times somewhat confusing, and this seems to have contributed to the resulting errors. In the second paragraph, we should have said that “Nearly half of all patients admitted to hospital [not “admitted to intensive care” as we implied] who later died in intensive care received care that was judged to be less than good practice.” And the following sentence should have said that poor care may have contributed to the deaths of a third of those whose care was deemed less than good practice. We also reported in the fourth paragraph, rather ambiguously, that “in nearly 6 out of 10 cases, consultants had no knowledge or input into the referral [to intensive care]”—we should have specified “consultant physicians.” In some places in the NCEPOD report, the use of the term consultant was ambiguous—it was not clear whether it meant consultant physician or consultant intensivist. Finally, the graph referred to the standard of care that the patients received in the period from admission to hospital up to, but not including, the first ward round (not, as we said, the standard of care in intensive care only).


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