Vital Times 2017 - 71

Dr. Atul Gawande:
"What are the Outcomes
that Matter?
By	Karen	Sibert,	MD,	FASA,	|	CSA	President	

T

he real surprise - to me, at least - came more than
halfway through Dr. Atul Gawande's keynote address
at the opening session of the American Society of
Anesthesiologists' annual meeting in Boston.
Much of his talk on October 21 celebrated the virtues
of checklists and teamwork, topics that have turned
into best-selling books for the well-known surgeon and
professor of public health. "We are trained, hired, and
rewarded to be cowboys, but it's pit crews we need," he said.
Then Dr. Gawande posed this question to the packed
room: "What are the outcomes that matter?"
He answered his own question somberly. "The most
unsafe operation is the operation that shouldn't be done," Dr.
Gawande said. "Does the operation serve the patient's goals
or not?"
"We've all been there," he continued. "Taking people to the
operating room and wondering what we're doing."
Those are comments I've heard from anesthesiologists
many times before, but I never thought I'd hear them
from a surgeon.
(continued)

Annual	Publication	2017	|	 	71



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