Anesthesiology has both claimed and been lauded for being the specialty that first focused on the issue of patient safety, years before the Institute of Medicine (now the National Academy of Medicine) report To Err Is Human was issued in 1999. In the second half of the 20th century, our leaders recognized that we placed our patients at risk through our own actions, and that developing systems of care, including checklists, could lead to lower risk and better outcome. In fact, the Institute of Medicine report and others claimed that anesthetic-related morbidity and mortality improved to the point that anesthesia was safe. While our specialty did lead other specialties in efforts to improve patient safety, many other specialties have refocused their efforts, including on reducing complications using wider definitions for areas in which they are accountable. Importantly, surgical patients...

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