Ellison C. Pierce, Jr., M.D., and a small number of specialty leaders and scientists formed a remarkable, diverse team in the mid-1980s to address a dual crisis: a safety crisis for anesthetized patients and a medical malpractice insurance crisis for anesthesiologists. This cohesive team’s efforts led to the formation of the Anesthesia Patient Safety Foundation, the American Society of Anesthesiologists’s Committees on Standards of Care and on Patient Safety and Risk Management, and the society’s Closed Claims Project. The commonality of leaders and members of the Anesthesia Patient Safety Foundation and American Society of Anesthesiologists initiatives provided the strong coordination needed for their efforts to effect change, introduce standards of care and practice parameters, obtain financial support needed to grow patient safety–oriented new knowledge, integrate industry and other relevant leaders outside of anesthesiology, and involve all anesthesia professions. By implementing successful patient safety initiatives, they promoted the recognition that anesthesiology and patient safety are inextricably linked.

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