As anesthesiologists, we can be proud of our professional history of being purveyors of patient safety. Our profession was singled out for making “impressive improvements in safety” in the Institute of Medicine’s 1999 Report To Err Is Human: Building a Safer Health System. Factors such as utilization of pulse oximetry and end tidal carbon dioxide monitoring, in addition to utilizing the ASA Closed Claims Project, have allowed us to make tremendous strides in improving patient safety while providing anesthesia care. We had the insight to see risk in our service, to define and measure that risk, and to implement the means to reduce hazards to patient safety.

We have even been forthright in looking at our own safety. About the same time as the release of the Institute of Medicine Report mentioned above, physicians were already looking at...

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