Communication in Crisis: The Importance of ‘Verbal Dexterity’

  • P. G. Brindley


Human factors are the number-one reason for commercial jet planes to crash. Furthermore, of all possible human factors, communication is the number one offender [1, 2, 3]. Evidence suggests exactly the same for acute care medicine [4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12]. However, in contrast to aviation, medical curricula focus on factual knowledge and procedural dexterity but rarely address ingrained culture or its effect upon communication [4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11]. The airline industry felt compelled, as lives, and profits, were at stake [2]. With medical errors believed to cause almost 100,000 deaths annually in the USA, and representing the eight leading cause of preventable death [13, 14], we ought to be similarly motivated. This chapter hopes to offer practical strategies so that our (verbal dexterity' can match our procedural dexterity. This will be done primarily by translating lessons from the flight deck to the bedside. After all, if other high-risk industries such as aviation can do so, then at least as much should be expected of acute care medicine.


Crisis Management Airline Industry Crew Resource Management Plane Crash Crisis Resource Management 
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Copyright information

© Springer Science + Business Media Inc. 2010

Authors and Affiliations

  • P. G. Brindley
    • 1
  1. 1.Division of Critical Care Medicine4H1.22 University of Alberta HospitalEdmontonCanada

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