At the 10th European Congress of Anesthesiology this summer in Frankfurt, Germany, one afternoon will be devoted to an international perspective on anesthesia patient safety. The session will be held on July 2, 1998, and will be called: "Is it time to have an international effort?" Dr. Ellison Pierce, Jr., Executive Director and former President of the APSF, will introduce the subject with a brief overview of the anesthesia patient safety movement in the United States and in other countries. Then, the session will depart from the traditional format. Instead of listening to lectures, the participants will be invited to form three groups, each with a special assignment: Group 1 will be asked to develop a statement relating to the question whether anesthesia can be made safer. This topic will recall the discussions held at a major international meeting in alternating years by a comparatively informal group calling itself the International Committee for the Prevention of Anesthetic Morbidity and Mortality (ICPAMM). Indeed, ICPAMM, led by Dr. Jeff Cooper, will attend this panel in lieu of a separate meeting. The second group will attempt to identify the most urgent steps required to make anesthesia safer.
Great differences among countries are likely to surface. Yet, a listing of the problems encountered in country A and the dramatically different problems in country B will be helpful to all who are working to make anesthesia safer.
The third group will examine what an international foundation devoted to anesthesia patient safety might have to offer. It will recognize the contributions of the World Federation of Societies of Anesthesiologists and of regional anesthesia societies. Indeed, the efforts of the WFSA are supported by the very people who also work in safety foundations and anesthesia societies of different countries.
After the simultaneous sessions of these groups, the participants will reassemble to listen to the reports summarizing the deliberations of the three groups. These presentations will be followed by a general discussion and, it is hoped, will be capped by a consensus statement outlining actions to be taken.
Should the idea of an international patient safety foundation find support, the meeting in Frankfurt, which expects participants from many countries, may provide a unique opportunity to launch such an international effort. Session organizers hope for good attendance not only by colleagues from all over the world but also by administrators and representatives from governments and industry, all indispensable partners in making anesthesia as safe as possible.