My husband calls me his catastrophist. I’ll admit it. I relish disaster movies and read history about plagues and calamities. All my knick-knacks are glued down in anticipation of the next earthquake. I’m always pointing out the worst possible thing that could happen when we embark on any adventure —even if that adventure is barbecuing in the backyard.
But a good anesthesiologist, or any health care provider, has to embrace the catastrophist within because our goal is to protect our patients from the unexpected. We have to constantly imagine the worst-case scenario so that if, or when, it happens we not only recognize it early, we’re ready for it. What we’re often not good at is protecting ourselves at work. We tend to be so patient focused that we often don’t even think about personal hazards. Continue reading