Errors and Omissions in Anesthesia: A Pilot Study Using a Pilot’s Checklist

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There are recent concerns that anesthesiologists are becoming less skilled in providing general anesthesia for Cesarean delivery. We considered whether a verbal checklist would help in the preparation for this event. We created a list of items to be checked when preparing to administer general anesthesia for a Cesarean delivery using expert opinion. This list was loaded onto an electronic checklist system with voice prompts and tested on 20 anesthesiologists using a high-fidelity anesthesia simulator. Participants omitted to check a median of 13 (range, 7–23) of 40 items. Common omissions included not checking that the difficult intubation trolley was available and not optimizing the patient’s head position. Most (95%) participants felt that the checklist was useful and 80% would like to use it for practicing simulated scenarios; 60% preferred a written checklist and 40% preferred the verbal checklist. Important checks may be forgotten when preparing to give a general anesthetic for Cesarean delivery, and the use of a checklist could improve patient safety.

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