Editorial Views  |   June 2019
If We Don’t Learn from Our Critical Events, We’re Likely to Relive Them: Debriefing Should Be the Norm
Author Notes
  • From Harvard Medical School and the Department of Anesthesia, Critical Care and Pain Medicine, Massachusetts General Hospital, Boston, Massachusetts.
  • This editorial accompanies the article on p. 1039.
    This editorial accompanies the article on p. 1039.×
  • Accepted for publication February 20, 2018.
    Accepted for publication February 20, 2018.×
  • Address correspondence to Dr. Pian-Smith: mpiansmith@mgh.harvard.edu
Article Information
Editorial Views / Education / CPD / Patient Safety
Editorial Views   |   June 2019
If We Don’t Learn from Our Critical Events, We’re Likely to Relive Them: Debriefing Should Be the Norm
Anesthesiology 6 2019, Vol.130, 867-869. doi:10.1097/ALN.0000000000002692
Anesthesiology 6 2019, Vol.130, 867-869. doi:10.1097/ALN.0000000000002692
This issue of Anesthesiology includes “Failure to Debrief after Critical Events in Anesthesia Is Associated with Failures in Communication during the Event” by Alexander Arriaga et al.1  This mixed-methods qualitative study reveals that when a communication failure occurs during a critical event, there is less likely to be a “warm” and “proximal” debrief (warm meaning in person, and proximal meaning soon after the event). The authors acknowledge that we do not know whether this significant relationship is causal. They theorize that it is often easier to talk about clinical aspects of a case than about interpersonal or communication issues. This is a reasonable conclusion to draw, through their abductive approach, based on interviews with residents who had recently been involved with critical events. However, we are not sure cause and effect can ever be confirmed via a robust study.