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Critical incident, In-hospital emergency, Medical emergency team, Patient safety, Quality of care, Resuscitation



  1. Danielis, Matteo MNS, RN
  2. Destrebecq, Anne MNS, RN
  3. Terzoni, Stefano PhD, MNS, RN
  4. Palese, Alvisa PhD, MNS, RN


Background: Medical emergency teams (METs), which have been established in several countries, contribute to a reported decrease in deteriorated patients' in-hospital mortality. To date, no data have been published on critical incidents that occurred in METs affecting patients' safety.


Objectives: The aim of the study was to identify and describe critical incidents that occurred during METs' activities in a large academic Italian hospital.


Methods: The data, which were stored in the official incident reporting system of the hospital and included all critical incidents that occurred and were reported in anonymous and voluntary forms over a 5-year period, were retrospectively analyzed.


Results: Overall, 17 critical incidents emerged, during both the team alert stage (n = 10) and its performance (n = 7), with approximately 3 events per year and an incident rate of 1.7 for every 1000 MET interventions.


Discussion: Medical emergency teams' critical incidents are rare and mainly due to the lack of compliance with protocols and of training and supplies, which require appropriate educational and organizational strategies.