26 Jun 2021

Alan Merry: making our medical system safer

From Saturday Morning, 8:42 am on 26 June 2021
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Professor Alan Merry is a world leading anaesthetist, and deep thinker about safe surgery on a macro and micro level. Professor Merry says that while New Zealand’s health system is pretty safe, it could be safer. He believes that when something goes wrong for a patient, we still don’t adequately consider how we fix the wider problem – we look to someone to blame. 

Professor Merry’s aim is to see improved focus on why things go wrong in the medical system, and the appropriate legal response when they do. He played a fundamental role in getting manslaughter taken off the books for doctors, with the NZ Medical Law Reform Group and the Crimes Amendment Act of 1997.

Professor Merry is Deputy Dean of the Faculty of Medical and Health at the University of Auckland, and he is a specialist in anaesthesia and chronic pain management at Auckland City Hospital. His new book, co-written with Dr Joyce Wahr, is Medication Safety during Anesthesia and the Perioperative Period - out now published by Cambridge University Press.