It’s a funny thing, probability.
In healthcare, we take our assurance in the lack of incidents to date.
In our minds, the lack of incidents in the past is a predictor of no incidents occurring in the future.
If our belief was otherwise, we would be scanning the fidelity of our systems of work with respect to risk, and we would take every opportunity to ensure the performance of our safety systems was robust.
In such a world, we would not need ‘Below Ten Thousand’, because we would already be there with full voluntary compliance.
The fact that something has never happened before does not stop us from being certain it will happen in the future in other parts of our psyche:
Take tonight’s $50,000,000 Oz Lotto, for instance.
I JUST KNOW that my numbers will come up this time despite them never having done so before!!!!
So whilst my confirmation bias can assure me I can have good fortune on both counts, I’m starting to wonder.
Should part of the informed consent I negotiate with my patients include the words:
“Trust me! I’ve been lucky so far?”