Journal Article

Errors, incidents and accidents in anaesthetic practice.

Runciman WB; Sellen A; Webb RK; Williamson JA; Currie M; Morgan C; Russell WJ

This review discusses the psychology of human error in the context of anesthesia. The authors provide definitions of, and describe the relationships between, errors, incidents, and accidents while drawing examples from the Australian Incident Monitoring Study. They explore a classification system for errors, including discussion of relevant taxonomic forms of “active” errors and contributing factors to “latent” errors. The discussion continues with strategic suggestions to both reduce and manage errors, which entail adequate collection, organization, and analysis of reported and recorded events. The authors also advocate for systematic understanding of errors as catalysts for future prevention efforts.