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Online ISSN 1827-1596
POINT OF VIEW
Canas M. 1,2, Moreno R. 2, Rhodes A. 3, Grounds R. M. 3
1 Anesthesiology Department, Hospital de St António dos Capuchos, Centro Hospitalar de Lisboa Central, E.P.E., Lisbon, Portugal;
2 Unit of Intensive Polyvalent Care, St António dos Capuchos Hospital, Centro Hospitalar de Lisboa Central, E.P.E., Lisbon, Portugal;
3 Department of Intensive Care Medicine, St George’s Healthcare NHS Trust, London, UK
Medical mistakes have been identified as resulting from a breakdown in one or more of five major areas: equipment performance, communication, staffing levels, complex environments and workloads. Because many of these areas relate directly to the practice of anesthesiology, they can contribute significantly to the safety and quality of the use of anesthesia. The specialty of anesthesia has embraced a culture of safety, resulting in many beneficial improvements for patients. The avoidance of error has led to improved outcomes, with a decrease in directly attributable rates of morbidity and mortality. Despite these improved rates, there are still areas that can be improved. This paper describes the background of these issues, discusses areas where performance has improved and identifies the areas in which there is room for further improvement.