I am loath to admit that I watch Grey's Anatomy. It's fundamentally a soap opera. But the tragic Buffalo air disaster makes it an apt subject. The Buffalo fiasco is significantly tied to exhausted pilots (and several other wretched and avoidable things). One of the many Commandments violated was the co-pilot's sleeping in the ready lounge. Prep for a flight requires more than a catnap!
"Rested pilots" are a safety requisite.
After days of Buffalo Bombardment in the media (as a very very frequent flier, I welcome the attention), I watched, without horrid consequences in this fictional case, exhausted surgeons sacking out in their ready rooms prior to complex surgeries. Fictional as Grey's is, the problem is very very real—with brutal consequences.
But the real problem is that un-necessarily killing people in hospitals, by the hundreds of thousands in the U.S. alone, gets virtually no media attention, while the cause of one crash becomes a cause célèbre that usually results in FAA revisions to Biblical Flying Rules, and often engineering changes in fleets of planes worldwide.
(In fact the entire hospital system mostly hides mistakes as a "cultural" trait—unlike Airline World, where reporting bad news is commonplace and requisite and "cultural," and causes no blame unless something unconscionable occurs. Hence, airlines and the industry have encyclopedic knowledge of "what went wrongs," and hospitals don't, except, as usual, the Veterans Administration, tops in virtually all things when it comes to error reporting and removal and patient safety.)
I want to fly with perky pilots.
And I want surgery provided via perky docs.
(In fact, to some significant extent, "perky" beats raw talent.)
Before blogging became all the rage, Tom was posting book reviews and Observations (essentially early blog posts) to this site. You can find the archives below.
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