Anaesthetist urges caution over adopting safety strategies from high risk industries

BMJ 2014; 349 doi: (Published 18 September 2014) Cite this as: BMJ 2014;349:g5660
  1. Rebecca Coombes
  1. 1The BMJ

Doctors should think twice before rushing to learn lessons from aviation and other high risk industries, a leading anaesthetist has warned.

Kevin Fong, a consultant anaesthetist at University College London, currently seconded to Kent, Surrey, and Sussex Air Ambulance Service, said that aviation’s “brilliant” safety record did hold many lessons for medicine but that the comparisons went only so far. Fong, who has also worked at NASA in the United States, called for expert “translators” to work between industries to bring lessons of safety across to healthcare.

“When sharing lessons from other systems you can fall very quickly into false equivalence,” he said. “We are only now beginning to …

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