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November 11, 1974

Flying and Anesthesia Disciplines Avoid Accidents

Author Affiliations

US Army Aeromedical Research Laboratory Fort Rucker, Ala

JAMA. 1974;230(6):823-824. doi:10.1001/jama.1974.03240060013012

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To the Editor.—  Medical practice, like flying, demands discipline to be safe. While learning the disciplines of flying, we have observed several medical applications. In fact, the cause and prevention of flying failures have probably been more thoroughly studied than medical failures; application of the disciplines of aeronautical safety to medical practice is appropriate.Much of flying, like anesthesia, is routine and boring. To avoid shortcutforgetful errors, pilots use checklists of each step. An orderly run-through of the checklist takes no more time than aimless hurry, and you don't miss steps. Errors in anesthesia include starting without adequate oxygen, not having anesthetic in the vaporizer, or beginning a rapid induction sequence without suction immediately available. These and other necessary procedures can be included in a preanesthesia checklist.A pilot starts his flight preparation with a weather bureau check to determine if flying conditions are optimal. If the weather is hazardous,