A ‘critical history’ of anaesthesia: anaesthetic critical incidents at Guy’s Hospital in 1955-75 and the present day


  • Dr Andrew Morley

    Guy's & St Thomas' Hospital Trust

Project summary

A critical incident is an event which led to harm or could have led to harm if it had been allowed to progress. Systematic recording of critical incidents in hospital has only recently become standard. 
I will compare historical and contemporary critical incident reports from Guy’s Hospital, the reporting systems that generated them and their potential for education. The historical set comprises 116 anaesthetic incidents occurring at Guy’s in 1955-1975.

I will use recollections of doctors and staff involved, departmental documents, contemporaneous academic literature and analyse them with assistance of experienced anaesthetic historians. I will also select suitable incidents from the current electronic reporting system at Guy’s. I will work with hospital administrative staff, anaesthetists and an experimental psychologist specialising in healthcare decision-making. I will consider the educational potential of the two sets and systems in the light of current published opinion. 

I anticipate outcomes including papers in history and anaesthetic journals as well as presentations at international conferences.