What can doctors learn from Captain Chesley Sullenberger?

Medicine has borrowed before from the field of aviation safety.

The pre-surgical checklist, discussed last week, is one recent example.

Patient safety guru Bob Wachter discusses the procedures that went into training the US Airways crew in preparation for their harrowing landing in the Hudson River.

How many times do doctors receive similar training, especially as they manage dangerous situations on a daily basis?

Unfortunately, the answer is “close to never.” Dr. Wachter points out that doctors rarely train together for medical emergencies such as code blues or emergency operations. Ask any physician if they had gone through rigorous teamwork training, and you’ll find that the answer is most likely “no.”

Perhaps, like the checklist, this is another page that medicine can borrow from the aviation safety textbook that can save patient lives.

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