Recently I was watching an episode of the Daily Show, in which John Stewart and a guest, surgeon and author of the novel The Checklist Manifesto, Atu Gawande, discussed the recent experiences pertaining to this book. The Checklist Manifesto gives detail on how, for example, important it is for Doctor's to have a checklist in order to reassure they have done everything possible to ensure their job has been completely correctly and safely. It is interesting, that a surgeon of all things, would come up with this idea and then write a book about it. We are talking about a simple checklist that would include, for example for doctors: Wash your hand's.
At first hearing this, one might laugh at the idea of professionals in industries needing simple checklists to perform their jobs. I almost laughed, until I heard some of the statistics. World-wide there are hundreds of thousands of deaths, during or after a surgery, that are caused simply because a doctor or surgeon failed to wash their hands. Now, that is quite scary to think of. The industry which is in place to ensure we are save and healthy is actually causing deaths, all because of something as simple as people not washing their hands. To further the statistics, this idea was put into place in 20% of the hospitals in America and they have cut one-third of deaths caused by infections. After implementing it, 80% of Doctors said they liked it and actually saw it catch errors, and then another questions was asked and 93% said they would use it during surgery.
This led me to begin thinking of other industries that maybe have a similar issue, or might be in need of a similar ideal. One place that we can actually find one of these examples is the aviation field. Aviators/Pilots use checklists to ensure everything is correctly in place and working smoothly before they decide to take off at around 500 miles per hour thousands of feet above the earth. Seems like a reasonable thing to do. Recently, Toyota released hundreds of thousands of cars world-wide that have been found with Brake problems. Brakes are one of the methods used in a car for defense and safety. We're talking about one of the worlds leading car manufacturer's releasing millions (billions of dollars [in sales] worth) of their products, and they are an endangerment to our lives. Somewhere along the line, some people messed up their job by allowing something as visible as sticky Brake's and misplaced floor pads (which entraps the gas pedal) to be completed and then sold to someone to use. I am pretty sure there is a job for this sort of thing, I believe it is called Quality Assurance/Inspector.
So why not include this in other fields, ensure every job is being done safely and properly. Well, my only answer to that is that in this current era, we all think we know more than we do. Everything is taken for granted; our professions, our education, and our actions. One of the reasons checklists are needed is because, regardless of the training and expertise one might have, what we have today are some extremely complex and advanced instruments that we must use, and practices that we must perform. Another reason such a list could exist is that, well, regardless of what we know and do, we are human, we make mistakes. Why not have something simply remind us of our tasks, take a minute or two to ensure what we are doing is correct. Thomas Edison tried over a hundred times to make the first light bulb ever work, when asked about his failures, he simply responded, "I found a hundred ways not to make a light bulb work, and one way that it does work." In the past, we had a lot less than what we do today, technology has advanced, therefore our tasks have advanced. So, why not ensure we are always aware what we are doing, why not put care and effort into our actions so that we do the best that we can do. Because we fail to do so, people are put into danger and even die. A life is a life and if it is at risk, then something is not right. Logically and simply put, we need to take better care of ourselves and what we do so that we can not only protect ourselves and those we love, but everyone around us.
This is an interview for the daily show
This is a link to view how millions of US Toyota vehicles are currently endangering American's lives.
Here's Colbert talking about this situation - http://watch.thecomedynetwork.ca/the-colbert-report/full-episodes/the-colbert-report---february-8-2010/