Volume 5, No. 4 • Winter 1990

APSF Comes of Age, Works for Safety

Ellison C. Pierce, Jr., M.D.

In 1990, its fifth year, the APSF continued to work toward its specific goal of improved anesthesia safety. This is not just our goal, but it must be seen as a responsibility of all health care professionals associated with the field.

Emphasis continued on research and, particularly, education, which includes the Foundation’s vigorous quarterly APSF Newsletter Most exciting has been the very significant increase in the number of papers presented on related subjects at the ASA Annual Meeting, exceeding 100 for the second consecutive year. In this issue of the Newsletter, highlights of the 1990 presentations are reviewed. In addition, the three Research Grant recipients and the winners of the Ellison C. Pierce, Jr. Award are announced. Dr. Howard A. Schwid commented, upon receiving this award, “Unfortunately, few grants are awarded to develop educational devices, but the APSF has made a strong commitment to improving anesthesiologists’ training through the development of simulators. Benefits of the foundation’s support will be realized soon and for years to come!’

Letters to the Editor and opinion pieces on anesthesia safety from all over the country and also around the world continue to multiply, establishing the Newsletter as a vehicle for debate on controversial subjects. Readers have frequently commented on areas of their own specific concern, such as operating room noise and alarms or the problem of inadequate drug labeling, thus stimulating readers to examine their own practices and em consider responding with another letter to the APSF Newsletter

Anesthesia Safer Now

Elsewhere in this issue is a summary of the dramatic (even more than for the physician community at large) recent reductions in anesthesia malpractice insurance premiums. There have been extensive discussions and presentations about the reasons for these premium cuts. We at the APSF believe it an inescapable conclusion that anesthesia care in this country is safer today than it was only a few years ago and, further, we hope that the principles and efforts put forth by the APSF have helped in this improvement in safety.

1990 has been particularly important for a significant increase in corporate contributions to the Foundation. Mr. Clifford Parish of Burroughs Wellcome Co. is Chairman of the Committee on Development and has been ably assisted by Mr. G. Douglas Wicker, who was appointed Director of Development for the APSF “year Volunteer ASA membership exceeded 4,000 anesthesiologist during the year. In October, the ASA House of Delegates approved a dues increase for ASA members that will include as one of its three components an eventual contribution of $400,000 in 1991 to the Foundation and consequent automatic APSF membership for all ASA members. A significant portion of the ASA monies will be placed in an APSF endowment fund.

In the coming year a major educational effort will be a planned conference on Human Error in Anesthesia, scheduled to occur in February, 1991, in collaboration with the Food and Drug Administration. Thirteen of the world’s leading experts in human factors and human performance in areas such as aviation, heavy industry, nuclear power, and the military have accepted the invitation to meet with a group of anesthesia research and clinical leaders experienced in the area, to teach and then apply the Knowledge of other disciplines to the special problems of anesthesia.

Other educational endeavors will include considerable further support in the development of simulators for training in anesthesia crisis management.

Lastly, in order to allow continued growth of the already-strong APSF efforts, I urge corporate donors, CRNA’S, and any other interested parties to increase their contributions to this Foundation in 1991. AU of us on the Board of Directors genuinely welcome suggestions and comments from the membership at all times. Let us hear from you and let us continue to work together towards even safer anesthesia cam

Ellison C. Pierce, Jr., M.D. President, APSF