Can we prevent adverse events?

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There is no such thing as a “little anaesthetic” or a “little operation”. Every procedure carries risk – from small inconveniences to most serious consequences.

Each individual patient ranks adverse events differently. For some, postoperative nausea is a minor issue; for others, it is a major one.

Each operation and anaesthetic carries specific risks for individual patients – depending on the type of surgery, the anaesthetic drugs and techniques used and a patient’s medical condition.

Anaesthetists and surgeons work together to present risks, benefits and alternatives to patients in their care. Much research energy is devoted to mitigating or preventing risk associated with what we do as doctors.

As Education Officer for the Australian Society of Anaesthetists, I am involved with and will be attending a conference in Adelaide in February 2015 devoted to the consideration of adverse events and how they may be prevented.

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