Tuesday, March 29, 2016

"What the OR Can learn from the Cockpit" A Chat with Richard Karl

Who says that flying a plane is not at all like caring for patients? I had the opportunity to talk w/ Dr. Richard Karl (retired Chair Dept Surgery USF Tampa; founding medical director of Moffitt Cancer Center; author of the book Across the Red Line: Stories from the Surgical Life) yesterday. I specifically wanted to speak with him about the response of Captain Sullenberger and copilot Jeff Skiles on January 15 2009 when all engines died after US Airways Flight 1549 hit a flock of geese and was rapidly losing altitude. In less than three minutes, the Captain and copilot ran thru their checklists, assessed their situation and determined that the advice they received from a very shaken control tower to land at an airfield was useless. Less than 180 seconds was all they had to work as a team together and decide what option was likely to save them all. If that is not like the many similar situations I have seen in the hospital, I do not know what is. Dr. Karl is a great mentor and I hope to speak with him more on this topic.

Kenneth A. Lipshy, MD, FACS

1 comment:

  1. When asked about the utility of using aviation as a safety model for Healthcare, Richard Karl, MD (Pilot rated to fly Boeing 737's, Captain for JetSuite, Irvine, CA, founder of Surgical Safety Institute, and Chairman Emeritus of the Department of Surgery, University of South Florida, Tampa, FL) stated that medicine is far more complicated than aviation, but that the many useful tools associated with improved air travel safety could have the same effect on error reduction and improved outcomes in health care if they are implemented properly. "You can't just slide a checklist under the operating room door and expect it to work," he said. In a 2015 Northwestern University study, one provider stated that "if taking care of patients were the same as commercial aviation, I would never operate, because pilots don't fly into a storm. We have multiple patients being cared for simultaneously by nurses, doctors, PA's, NP's, etc. As we continue to see a shortage of these staff, this multi-tasking will likely worsen.” (20)