“Read the label, read the label, read the label!”

Anyone who has administered anesthesia has probably heard or said this phrase many times in their career. And nobody wants to cause harm. How effective is repeating this in preventing medication errors and harm from anesthesia?

The corporatization of medicine and the financial drivers in today’s market, along with government mandates and the risk of CMS reimbursement penalties, are forcing hospitals to demand more safety, efficiency and harder work from their clinical staff. While there have been discernible improvements in the safety and quality of anesthetic care, patients still experience unacceptable harm. Patients often struggle to have their voices heard, processes are not as efficient as they could be and costs continue to rise at alarming rates while quality issues remain.

It’s now 40 years since Cooper and colleagues first described “syringe swaps” in 1978 as one of the top...

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